Disclaimer: I have nothing against Rebel Wilson personally, I very much enjoy her TV/Film work. I haven’t met her personally, but know people who have and say she is very friendly. If you are the type of person who struggles to deal with controversial/conflicting opinions, I suggest you don’t read.
I saw Rebel’s first show in Guys & Dolls, on 28th June, and it was basically everything I expected it to be!
From the moment Rebel stepped onto the stage the audience were going wild, they continued to do this every time she was on stage, the more they gave, the more she gave back! It was like being at a panto!
Her accent was very shakey from the start and, similar to Sophie Thompson, she seemed to channel many different voices and accents throughout the show. Everything about her portrayal of Adelaide was done for laughs and whilst at some points of the show this works, at no point did you feel for her, the moments when she has been let down by Nathan and her more delicate, less performer, side shows were made comical. I feel it has really taken away from what is suppose to be a classic musical.
The whole performance felt very slapstick.
As this was her first show and I was aware she hadn’t had a long rehearsal period, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and went again to see the show. I had hoped that as she settled in she would tone it down, unfortunately this was not the case at all. We have many extra sexual innuendos and adlibs (don’t even get me started on the cucumber!) which are not only unnecessary, they also increase the length of (an already long) show. The second time I saw it they cut the entire dance routine in the sewers, before Luck Be A Lady, and the show still didn’t come down until around 10:20-10:25.
Her voice was very average, she can hold a tune but with no power, most songs appeared to be spoke rather than sung. Duet numbers, such as Marry The Man, were awkward as the other cast were in some kind of battle to equal her comedy, whilst not completely over shadowing her vocally.
I find it really frustrating when performers, who are incredibly talented, are pushed aside for celebrities who can’t deliver. Whilst some “stunt casting” does pay off, so often it doesn’t.
So my advise would be, if you want to see the show for what it is, a classic story set in New York focusing on two couples and their journey’s revolving around gambling, then I would wait until September. However if you want to go and watch some incredible performances dance and sing their hearts out whilst Rebel plays herself/Fat Amy whilst the audience scream uncontrollably over the top, go immediately.