REVIEW - Michael Portillo: A Life of Two Halves, St George’s Guildhall

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo
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As such a devotee of all things railway, there was only one self-respecting way that Michael Portillo could have travelled to Lynn for his sold-out show at the St George’s Guildhall – by train.

David Bowie may have been described as the master of re-invention, but Portillo’s had a pretty decent go at the same trick.

The man who was the poster boy of Conservative electoral annihilation 20 years ago has been transformed into the great television tour guide, whose Railway Journeys shows offer something for pretty much anyone.

Indeed, they have become something of a family favourite. As something of a rail travel enthusiast, they’ve planted a few seeds of possible future trip plans for me. Others will enjoy the history.

And then there is the entertainment of the presenter’s striking wardrobe, something I sensed the audience was relieved to hear may be partially caused by dressing in the dark.

From trains to Trump, Brexit to Bradshaw’s, the show offered those of us lucky to be there our own Portillo moment, though, perhaps mercifully, without the humiliation associated with the origins of that phrase.

And anyone whose view of meerkats is based on the adverts of a certain insurance comparison website may have been slightly alarmed by the description of the dictatorial behaviour of the female of that species and the comparison drawn with a certain political leader (and I don’t mean Theresa May).

But, at the end of a gloriously entertaining evening, and with the promise of further book signings afterwards, there was only one question left. Did he catch the 9.37 to London?