Entertainment & Arts

Rebel Wilson: Musicals are a 'slog' compared with films

Rebel Wilson Image copyright PA
Image caption Wilson's performance has received mainly positive reviews from critics

Rebel Wilson has said appearing in stage musicals is "a slog" compared with working on films.

The actress is currently starring as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls in London's West End.

"Movies can be tiring because we work 16 hours a day - this is different because it's fewer hours, but it's every single day," she said.

But, the Pitch Perfect star added she and the cast "have been having such a good time".

"It has been so good to perform for full houses every night and get standing ovations," she told the BBC.

"At first I was like, 'Are they standing because they want to leave? Or did they actually enjoy it?'" she added jokingly.

Wilson's character, Miss Adelaide, works as a showgirl for the Hot Box nightclub.

"This is a character that is quite different to some of my other characters - I'm a woman in 1950s New York, I'm not Fat Amy in this production," Wilson says, comparing the role with her Pitch Perfect role.

"I do try to bring a bit of my own personal style to the part, but it is a very different role and so I think it can take people a little while to adjust to it, and the way I talk in the show with the New York accent."

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Media captionRebel Wilson on how her family dog inspired her love of musicals

Some critics have noted that Wilson has occasionally been ad-libbing in the production, which is at the Phoenix Theatre.

"You can't change it too much of course, because it's owned by an estate and you've got to stay true to the text and be a professional actress about it, but I do embellish to keep people on their toes," Wilson said.

"Every single show is a little bit different which I think is really cool, a thousand people got to see this particular show tonight but tomorrow it will be slightly different."

"The other cast members are wary of it, so they're ready if something happens."

'Joy to watch'

Wilson received broadly positive reviews after her performance at the show's official opening night on Thursday.

Dominic Cavendish of the Daily Telegraph said: "The Sydney-born sensation doesn't do things by halves.

"At a stroke she purges any semblance of the wilting wallflower from the super-sensitive comic heroine of the piece."

Cavendish added: "This is the butchest reading of the part I've ever seen, with the gruffness and heft of a prop forward. But Wilson can belt out a tune as required."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Wilson recently sat in Wimbledon's royal box

Writing in The Stage, Mark Shenton described Wilson as "big, bold and brassy - in every sense," but added her singing has room for improvement.

"[Wilson] does not, to be frank, have a pitch-perfect singing voice - it's a loud instrument rather than a subtle one. But she's refreshingly vanity-free and celebrates her body," he wrote.

The Times awarded the show four stars, adding: "The purists won't like it but [Wilson] does add something special here.

"As she gurned and twirled and patted her breasts, a cross between Betty Boop and Matt Lucas in Little Britain, I wondered if she might be in a different show all together," Ann Treneman wrote.

"But then it all started to smooth over. I'm not sure if we got used to her, or she got used to us, but by the second half it all blended together and was a joy to watch."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Wilson appeared in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley

WhatsOnStage also gave the production four stars, and described Wilson as "unstoppable".

"Her entrance has undeniably shifted the dynamics of the show. As well as that hard-to-define aura of star power, her presence gives the performance an extra jolt of comedy and bombast, all the while keeping true to its strong emotional core."

The Evening Standard's Henry Hitchens added: "Wilson may not have a glorious singing voice, but here in her West End debut she demonstrates her talent for grabbing attention and holding on to it relentlessly."


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