Capitol Steps at Cranwell. Written and directed by producer Elaina Newport, with lyrics by Elaina Newport, Mark Eaton and the cast. Reviewed by J. Peter Bergman
"At least I'm not the Mayor of Toronto!"
Janet Davidson Gordon
Five of the funniest people on earth cap a perfect Berkshire evening with their delicious humorous look at the world we inhabit. The members of "Capitol Steps" who have taken up summer residence at the Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox (on the border of Lee, MA) are regaling audiences nightly (except Tuesdays) for the next two months and they are so welcome that they must be regarded as best friends back for a visit, one that you expect, and cherish.
For seven years they have been moving into the neighborhood. Their house is never finished and the changes they bring each year are always amazing. This season there are more innovations and realizations than ever as they satirize the goings on in Washington, DC and around the world. "Satire is what closes on Saturday night," wrote theatrical kingpin George S. Kaufman, but that isn't the case here. Here, satire is what makes the world go round. And you can quote me; I said that.
I also said that they cap the perfect Berkshire night. Here's how it should go. You settle down on the terrace at Cranwell at 5:15 with a well-made drink and admire the incredible views of Lee and Stockbridge and the surrounding hills. At 6:00 you move into your seats in the Wyndhurst dining room and begin a delectable meal. We had a fine Caesar Salad, Tuna prepared two ways, rack of lamb and a vegetable pasta with a divine sauce. We drank excellent wines, particularly a 2008 Col Solare from the Columbia Valley, a blend of Cabarnet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. We topped it off with a chocolate mousse cake that would convert a confirmed Vanilla fan and drank perfect coffee. Then we were transported to the other side of the campus for the show. What transpired in the basement room was an actual topper to that remarkable meal.
These people, as noted, are truly funny. They can wring a laugh out of health care issues. They can bring the return of Monica Lewinsky into sharp focus. The can even take the issue of same-sex marriage rights and turn it into a political statement about the practical use of issues to forge a union that, while unholy, wracks up re-election dollars (you'll have to see the show to find out who gets hitched!).
I wait each year for this troupe to bring to the Berkshires what most company's only dream about - absolute comedy without reservations. Although you should make reservations for dinner and the show. Without them you risk having an evening you'll regret. With them you'll have one you'll never forget. And that's no Lirty Die (see the show and you'll see what I mean).
Capitol Steps plays every night but Tuesday in the Olmsted Bldg at Cranwell, located on Route 20 in Lenox, MA. For tickets and information (and dinner reservations) call the box office at 413-881-1636 or go online to cranwell.com.