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Siblings – Siblage Review

Maddy and Marina provide a best in class lesson in comedy.

Siblings - Siblage
Credit: Dylan Woodley

Siblings are back with an anarchic explosion of comedy, set at a mystical, odd and harrowing school.

We meet a series of characters who are familiar from film and TV across every era in the UK, the USA and around the world and back again. However the only thing predictable about Siblings’ characters is the sheer chaos that ensues. 

It is so ridiculous that it becomes a cathartic experience where the audience are bound together in the psychedelic assembly hall as the class of 2022.

At its core, sisters Maddy and Marina Bye offer up the troubled and complex lives of teachers that we always imagined went on behind the staff room door. 

They release a ‘warts and all’ take down of teacher-led hypocrisy, the type that stifles childhood creativity, a hypocrisy of leadership that is digested and gloriously regenerated into a bursting confetti cannon of comedy with the help of fellow Siblage students.

It has been a joy to see the evolution and refinement of ideas and we are treated to some musical comedy for the first time with a theatrical rendition of “Father’s lost his mind” – a song worthy of any West End stage. 

We are reminded of every schoolteacher’s obsession with ‘peer pressure’ as we are lectured by two big-busted northern women who ask us to ‘settle down’ while informing us they’ve had to ‘leave year five in the Louvre in France’ and they were also supposed to be at ‘drinks at the cock and bollocks’ with Mr Henley.

We also see a drama teacher commandeering the assembly to perform his play about an American coach estranged from his son – he has heard ‘industry is in’ and wants to show his skills – a line that subverts the Edinburgh Fringe Festival itself.

The push and pull between each half of Siblings adds a dimension of unlimited creative potential onstage. The trust between the pair allows for greater risks guaranteeing each show will take on a unique identity backed by the seamless quality of the writing.

The tech elements of the show create an immersive experience. A special mention goes to Ellie, the tech engineer and DJ who supports the show with the unfaltering energy of an adopted sibling or first cousin.

Having watched this show I have reprogrammed my brain to believe that school was retrospectively enjoyable or at least it would have been if I was at school with Siblings. 

As we navigate the ups and downs of a post-pandemic world and return to work, this show reminds us to embrace fun and silliness as a weapon against the mediocre and mundane aspects of life that sometimes feel out of our control (a feeling I also felt at school).

This is not so much a performance as an exclusive invitation into the world of Siblings for a moment in time.

Show: Siblings – Siblage Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, The Attic Ticket price: £10 Dates: until 29th August Time: 20:30 (60 mins) Ticket link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/siblings-siblage

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