An Evening With Rebel Wilson review: food, virginity and her Disney princess (just don’t mention Grimsby)

 (Rebel Wilson/Instagram)
(Rebel Wilson/Instagram)

Rebel Wilson's autobiography Rebel Rising has certainly been garnering plenty of excitable exposure recently. So it was unsurprising that a deafening cheer went up when the Hollywood star walked onstage at the Palladium. The ticket price included a free hardback, but not any details that are blacked out in the UK edition.

The memoir went on sale here last week with text regarding working with Sacha Baron Cohen on the 2016 comedy Grimsby redacted. Wilson has made allegations about Baron Cohen's behaviour which he has strongly denied. Baron Cohen's spokesperson has called them "demonstrably false”.

When interviewer Fearne Cotton brought up the subject, she added that they had to tread delicately. Wilson said that the redaction was "the publisher's decision" not hers.

This 'in conversation' event settled on less stormy terrain. We learnt how Wilson was a cripplingly shy child whose mother physically pushed her – "like a snowplough" – into acting class. Rebel quickly realised she could emerge from her shell by pretending to be other people.

But success did not come painlessly. She fell from a mid-air prop during a production of Fiddler on the Roof and failed to get into drama school five times. The moment that made her persevere was when she contracted malaria and hallucinated that she was accepting an Oscar.

Wilson comes across as both tenacious and smart. She correctly felt her large size could be a unique asset in Hollywood. She swiftly landed an agent and then a breakout part in Bridesmaids as the sister of Matt Lucas' character, cast because the producers thought she resembled Lucas. They were spot-on. When I saw Bridesmaids I initially thought Lucas played both roles.

A recurring theme has been her relationship with food. She finally resolved her issues in 2020 when thinking about motherhood. She joked that she had been looking for a husband but instead found her "Disney Princess", Ramona Agruma. After an online courtship, they dated and "within 30 minutes we were making out in the bathroom." In 2022 they had a daughter Royce.

Rebel Rising has had mixed reviews, but her chatty style worked well in person, where she managed to be both open and guarded. We found out that she did not lose her virginity until she was 35, but we never discovered the identity of the minor royal who invited her to a high class orgy.

This was an evening that was big on body positivity and the power of self-love. Plus a few curveballs. Wilson is considering relocating here for the schools. And asked what she thinks she would do if not a movie star she had no hesitation: "Property development." Probably not in Grimsby.

Rebel Rising is published by Harper Collins