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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ann Randolph Is Your Nightmare Seatmate on a Transcontinental Flight in Loveland

Posted By on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

It's going to be a looooooooong flight.
  • It's going to be a looooooooong flight.

Loveland, Ohio, is the birthplace for two wonders of the unnatural world: the Loveland Frog, a 4-foot-tall creature that is equal parts human and lizard, and comedian Ann Randolph. Though you might presume the frog is the stranger phenomenon, don't rule out the human just yet. Randolph's case? She is certifiably Mel Brooks-approved. The wildly weird creator of Get Smart, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein co-produced Randolph's off-broadway solo show, Squeeze Box, in 2002. Next, there's SF Weekly. We named her Best Solo Theater Performer in 2010. (Notice we put Mel Brooks first.)

Randolph brings manic energy to her chillingly precise characters: accordion players, harlots, rednecks -- freaks and geeks, mostly. Randolph's follow-up to Squeeze Box is Loveland. She embodies performance artist Franny Potts on a flight from Los Angeles to Ohio, where she will attend her mother's funeral. Opinionated, ribald, and approaching a nervous breakdown, Franny is the last person you want to find yourself next to on a transcontinental flight. Among the passengers on the plane are a flatfooted businessman and a nonplussed "stewardess." Randolph's attention to her cast's inner banality marks a new maturity in her work, as does the nimble handling of her tricky theme -- death. Brooks said of Randolph, "She's a bit of a genius [the way] she goes in and out of these characters."

Loveland plays Fridays and Saturdays through March 26 at the Marsh. Admission starts at $20.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF
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Andrew Stout

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