Jennifer Coolidge- ‘Yours for the Night’ ***** ‘The Scotsman’

Martin Gray from ‘The Scotsman‘ went along to see Jennifer Coolidge at the Assembly Rooms. Here is what he thought.

Jennifer Coolidge- ‘Yours for the Night’

***** ‘The Scotsman’

She’s appeared in American Pie, Legally Blonde, Joey, Best in Show and now here’s Jennifer Coolidge in the Assembly’s Wildman Room. Talk about a great surprise – I was expecting the Hollywood star to be in one of the big halls, but here she was, close enough to make eye contact with her audience.

Or maybe that should be church. It was obvious everyone there was a fan, but after an hour of candid tales of life as a non-skinny, decidedly non-ingenue character actress, there were more than a few acolytes. It helps that Coolidge has the body of a Greek goddess – she’s statuesque, voluptuous and has the face of an angel.

And the mouth of an alley cat. Coolidge is no shrinking violet, she knows exactly how people see her in the Hollywood talent pool. She’s a good enough actress to attack any type of role, but her turn as Stifler’s Mom in American Pie led many to file her under brassy blonde MILF. But she’s not in Edinburgh to give her Lady Macbeth, she’s here to make us laugh.

And laugh we did, at tales of how she lost out to Renée Zellweger for the role of Bridget Jones, her theory as to why Penelope Cruz can keep A-list Hollywood boyfriends for so long, where Brokeback Mountain went wrong, and much, much more. She even reenacts her big scene from Sophie’s Choice, with a live Danish pastry. And all the stories of LA’s movers and shakers come with dead-on impersonations.

Coolidge is in Edinburgh as part of a project to “Get the **** out of America” and, as a newly single woman, maybe even meet a new man. Well, she’s in Edinburgh and in her prime (hmm, I can think of a role ripe for reinterpretation).

She started on the comedy circuit last summer and rather than “straight” stand-up is, as the title implies, sticking to personal observations and revelations. Her delivery is dry and dead-on – when she aims that whip-smart mind and vicious tongue at something, it’s toast.

Despite the stunning looks, Coolidge isn’t vain; she constantly tells stories against herself, not in a “poor me” way but in “what the hell?” mode. Despite the blousy public persona, there’s a vulnerability and humility to the woman – she was genuinely touched by the warmth of her reception. Jennifer Coolidge deserves it.

Jennifer Coolidge is peforming at the Assembly@George St at 8.15 for the duration of the Fringe. You can buy tickets here.

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