Unfriendly Skies

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? First, she is certifiably Mel Brooks–approved (only Dame Edith Sitwell bestowed a shinier sword of eccentricity). The wildly weird creator of Get Smart, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein coproduced Randolph's off-broadway solo show, Squeeze Box, in 2002. Also, there's the manic energy Randolph brings 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 L.A. 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."
Fridays, Saturdays; Saturdays; Fridays, Saturdays; Sundays. Starts: Feb. 4. Continues through May 8, 2011

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