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15 years after his Sons of Barnum show, Borkowski returns to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his autobiographical show "False Teeth in a Pork Pie"

If you’re planning on attending the Festival Fringe this year, now you can go and see one of our own as Mark Borkowski announces his return to Edinburgh!

The show will take you on an adventure through his life and career as a weaver of tall tales, purveyor of wonders and doyen of the dark arts for some of the most fantastical characters in the worlds of circus, theatre, music, Hollywood and beyond: False Teeth in the Pork Pie: How to unleash your Inner Crazy.

You can book tickets here.

More from Mark below on why he’s returning, and some details about his show:

“At the height of its powers, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a whirling maelstrom of creativity that surges off the stage, onto the streets, into our hearts and minds, and then, with enough collective willpower, into legend.

In my life as a publicist, my alchemic quest has been to facilitate this exact journey – from story to legend – and the fact that it is such fertile ground for the creation of true fame is one of the reasons the Fringe has continued to fascinate me for over four decades.

This infatuation has led me to conclude that after two COVID-interrupted years, and with sustained questions about its purpose, its future, and its very soul, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will still not quite be back to its carnivalesque best in 2022.

Understandably, artists, producers, companies, and everyone else who forms the Edinburgh Fringe eco-system are approaching the whole endeavour with caution and pragmatism; it’s a huge financial and career risk, consumer and media interest has not returned to usual levels, and even performers who reliably sell out the bigger houses must be feeling that posterior squeak more than usual.

So, it will probably raise the odd eyebrow when I announce that not only is my agency back publicising shows in Edinburgh, but I’m going to be taking to the stage for the first time in a decade with an update of my one-man show, snappily titled: ‘False Teeth in the Pork Pie: How to unleash your Inner Crazy’.

The show is a kind of TED-Talk-comedy-cabaret about my life and career featuring the eponymous denture-encrusted delicacy as well as; pornographic posters, playwriting emus, a theatre on a motorbike, sideshow performers being crushed by cars and burnt at the stake, a ‘Homo sapien’ zoo exhibit, an underwater concert, a vacuum cleaner ballet, several ghost hunts, a man eating his second jumbo jet, and the most offensive fancy dress party in history…hosted by a Hollywood legend…

But ‘…Pork Pie…’ is also a call to action: ignore whatever caution or realpolitik seems to have crept into our beloved festival and take that creative or entrepreneurial risk that’s nagging for attention at the back of your mind: if the Edinburgh Fringe is ever to be restored to its former glory, then it needs to recover the spirit of maverick creativity that made it the world’s biggest and best arts festival.

In other words: if a baby boomer with no performance background can convince himself that up to 1,000 people will come and watch him relive a series of outrageous and mostly illegal publicity stunts, then the great and the good of the Fringe can certainly help make the festival that bit weirder and wilder…

Some lightning can’t be bottled, and there will always be artists and shows that just have magic that ensures success. For us mere mortals, the key to making an Edinburgh show a success is also one of the factors that makes the Fringe so magical: taking it off the stage and out into the streets. I’ve previously paraphrased P.T. Barnum’s philosophy as ‘the publicity must be an extension of the artform’; it’s a guiding principle and the basis for many of the stories in ‘…Pork Pie…’ but it’s also what I’d encourage every artist at the Fringe to do. I certainly will be.

So, that dodgy publicity stunt idea? Go for it! That one-off street performance? The Royal Mile will be lucky to have you! That guerrilla photo op? The police will turn a blind eye! The 3 am fancy-dress performance-art club night in an abandoned shipping container? See you there! The giant, papier-mache flyering puppet? Do it all! Our dismal, screen-addled, seemingly proto-apocalyptic world needs a bit of technicolour and the Fringe, at its best, has always been there to provide it.

And if you’re a producer, artist, or simply a lover of the arts and what we used to call show business, and this philosophy sounds interesting to you, then why not pop along to the Assembly George Square Studio 2, 17-20 August at midday, and enjoy a tale of the kind of maverick magic that made the Edinburgh Fringe not just a festival but a legend…”

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