“It’s a show about being naughty and playing dress up.” | Maddy and Marina talk sisterhood, sketch and Siblinginging at Vault Festival

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the Vault Festival. 

Siblings: the Siblinginging Returns is a brand new version of our hit 2019 Edinburgh show, The Siblinginging. Blending clown and physical comedy with very intensely serious, classically trained, theatrical performance, the show is an hour of absurdist sketch comedy. Maddy and Marina, IRL sisters and character comedians, will hold your hand and guide you through a kaleidoscope of characters from an all too familiar world. 

How did Siblings come together as performers? 

Having slid out of the same womb, little did we know we would be forcing laughter and shocking the eye balls of hundreds of strangers. We have always played characters together growing up as a pass time. In the backseats of cars to underneath restaurant tables. Everyone we saw we would impersonate and copy their accents… Nobody was safe. 

5 years later, Marina went to Guildhall School of Music and Drama whilst Maddy ventured off to Paris to enroll in Ecole Philippe Gaulier Clown School for 2 years. When we returned, we went to The Edinburgh Fringe as punters and decided to try a gig together. The material was absolutely horrible and the look of confusion and fear from family and friends was almost palpable, but we immediately became addicted and realised (probably from growing up together) that we shared the exact same sense of humour which weirdly worked on stage. 

How does the concept of sisterhood influence your show?

What many siblings will relate to is the unashamedly competitive nature towards each other. Although we are rather peaceful with one another in day to day life, on stage we let the reins go and tear each other apart. There is no real conflict in the process because underneath it all we are really rooting for each other and want each other to succeed. 

We are lucky that growing up together has automatically given us a connection that very much comes out in our shows. We have an insane skill of being able to talk at the same time, on occasion we have accidentally improvised the same dance move at the same time. It’s easy to work with a comedy partner like that as we naturally never talk over each other and know when it’s the other one’s time to shine. This is something people have to work on for a long time so we are lucky to be related! 

If the audience are laughing at either of us it’s the ultimate feeling. It’s like an unsigned contract that no matter what, (from the wise words of Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain) make ‘em laugh!

How did you get into sketch comedy?

After our horrific attempt at character comedy on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe all those years ago, we decided to try and write something for real and try out the London circuit.

Because we have always played characters, sketch comedy seemed the perfect fit for us. We wrote a sketch about two Australian anti bully busters called Tiffany and Piffany who spiritually healed 10 year old bullies. The ten year old was always a slightly wasted audience member who tended to be in finance… strangely always seemed to be the perfect target.

We started getting invited to scratch nights in London and from that, ended up getting invited to lots of really amazing, fun alternative comedy nights which we still do now.

Finally we bit the bullet and wrote 3 Edinburgh Fringe shows and now we are doing our third hour of weird character sketch comedy at the Vaults Festival! 

What’s the trick to keeping people engaged for a full length show comprised of short sketches?

Even though our show is made up of sketches, we still try and make it a full show, characters connect, call backs are made and sibling rivalry is always there. 

Every night also seems to be a bit different because of the nature of the show and the audiences we get in. We know how to mould ourselves and shift to fit the type of audience we have in. It’s sometimes easy to look at an audience like a giant baby. If they are quieter then find the language of the show to suit that atmosphere and coax the laughter out from there. If the baby is an alcohol-fueled maniac then we match that and more. This way there is space to improvise and go further with them so that there is a level of ambiguity. This tends to keep it alive. 

What inspired your absurdist style of comedy?

We grew up watching mainly absurdist comedy. Our favourite thing to do was watch Tim & Eric on YouTube. Maddy was obsessed with Mighty Boosh to the point where she insisted on making her hair the same as Noel Fielding. It was a terrible stage. We loved anything online that was shocking, made no sense, any H3H3 videos, Eric Andre. French and Saunders and Ab Fab was also the beginning of us seeing women do absurdist characters which very much inspired our type of comedy. It was always our favorite style of comedy. Shows that were about nothing but made us laugh for hours. 

We always try to write quite generic sketches at the beginning but in the end they always turn into either a murder, death, blood, vom, alternative universes, something weird happens and that’s what makes us laugh the most. 

What drew you to physical comedy?

Maddy is a small brunette who can stand on her head, Marina has long limbs that tend to be out of control. Generally, Marina looks like a huge woman next to a small child, just the image of us together seems to make people laugh. We went on to do lots of synchronized dances and gravitate quite naturally towards physical games. This might have something to do with Maddy going to clown school and Marina being a drama kid.

We have written a sketch for Vaults about Victorian women not being able to bend over and we have become obsessed with TikTok dances because we want to be down with the kids. We think we look quite good doing them but in reality, we are horrible dancers. 

What do you hope people take away from your show? 

Our shows are usually built to be a big escape from the outside world. It’s an hour of mayhem, satire and impersonations of people we have all had the displeasure of meeting at one point in our lives. It’s a show about being naughty and playing dress up. We want the audience to leave feeling pumped and joyous and silly. We have been told by audiences that they go straight into a party and fist pump for hours after our show. 

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Vault Festival?

There are so many amazing shows are heading to Vault Fest, too many to name or this will be 18 pages long so to name a few character / sketch acts: Seayonce, Privates, Josh Glanc, Joz Norris, The Death Hilarious, Max & Ivan, Ryan Lane, David McIver, Big Show, The Establishment, Crybabies, Legs, Egg, Britney, Shelf, Stepdads, Police Cops, Christopher Bliss, Crizards AND SO MANY MORE.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

Simply create what you find deeply funny. We have realised over the past 5 years watching and doing lots of comedy that if you are enjoying yourself and enjoy what you are doing, an audience can smell it and that’s half the laughter. Be prepared to fail almost one hundred times but if it turns you on that one time it worked, then it’s worth it to keep going.

Siblings are performing at Vault Festival on 11th to 22nd March.

Book your ticket here.

You can keep up with their work by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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