On Thursday, August 18, 2011, I attended Charles Busch's latest play "Olive And The Bitter Herbs" at Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters. I have been a fan of Charles Busch for over 8 years now and have seen almost all of his stage productions since becoming a fan. The one thing I love most about attending a Charles Busch show is that no matter what, I will be entertained, and "Olive And The Bitter Herbs" entertained me!
"Olive And The Bitter Herbs" tells the tale of "Olive," an actress, who's list of problems are endless, but when she sees a ghost in her mirror, things really start to explode, and "Olive" finds herself hosting a Passover Seder with her annoying neighbors in tow. Are her neighbors there to celebrate with "Olive" or to get a glimpse of the ghost?
Charles has written a funny show with a great message about how our lives intertwine and connect and if you just ask the right questions, you can more easily find that common thread. I feel what makes this play so brilliant, is that Charles keep you wondering and guessing until the very end how everything comes together.
Bringing this story to life is a great cast comprised of fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Julie Halston, Marcia Jean Kurtz, David Garrison, Dan Butler, and Ricahrd Masur. Marcia does a good job of portraying "Olive" as does Richard who portrays "Sylvan," the one who touches "Olive" the most. David Garrison and Dan Butler make a great team as "Robert" and "Trey." Each bring their own flair to their roles, making me believe they were really a couple. Saving the best for last is the always enjoyable Julie Halston who plays "Wendy." I am big Julie Halston fan and she always lights up the stage for me! While Julie has her moments in the first act, especially at the close of Act 1, it's not until the very end of the show, where Julie really gets her big shining moment. In classic Julie style, that moment gets the huge laughter and round of applause I've come to expect and love when I see Julie in a show. I don't think Julie can be in a show and not have one of those moments.