REVIEW: Ranulph Fiennes at The Kings Theatre, Southsea

Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Picture: John Cleare
Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Picture: John Cleare
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Rotting fingers and feet, run-ins with polar bears, blowing up dams, being chucked out of the SAS and an ever-increasing body count along the way.

Fiennes took us on a thunderbolt tour of his extraordinary life with warmth, humour and a huge amount self-deprecation.

The Greatest Living Explorer is the master of the understatement. Getting stuck on ice flows for months on end, climbing the north face of The Eiger, having to rip his frozen lips apart and surviving in temperatures of –122C he variously describes as ‘a bit tricky’, and ‘not really my cup of tea’ .

I can think of other words for such terrors.

From his early childhood in South Africa, to record-breaking polar explorations, Everest ascents and completing the gruelling Marathon De Sables aged 71 – the man is superhuman.

But, from failing his A-levels to being thrown out of the army, he revealed that he is actually very human,and ‘fell apart’ when his first wife Ginny died of cancer.

It was fascinating to learn that in fact Ginny, who died in 2004, was the driving force behind the seemingly-impossible expeditions.

She planned them, pushed him when he thought it couldn’t be done, and made sure they raised the millions in sponsorship needed to make their ‘package holidays’ a reality.

In fact Mind Over Matter felt like a tribute to her.

What a woman.

Since her death Fiennes has remarried and raised close to £19m for charities.

Next time I’m feeling too lazy to tackle Portsdown Hill on a run, I’ll just think of him.