Review: Clyde’s, Donmar Warehouse

Lynn Nottage’s Clyde’s finds the drama in working towards the perfect sandwich at the Donmar Warehouse

“You know my policy. If it ain’t brown or grey, it can be fried”

Occupying the same theatrical universe as her 2015 play Sweat, Clyde’s returns Lynn Nottage to the arms of director Lynette Linton and the Donmar Warehouse to great effect. Set in a diner in deepest Pennsylvania which employs ex-cons, the staff are caught between the ferocious disdain of owner Clyde and the culinary expertise of Montrellous who leads the kitchen.

Clyde is more concerned with cutting any and every cost she can, more scared of those she’s in debt to. Montrellous on the other hand is on the quest to create the perfect sandwich and as he leads by example, the strength of his team grows around him. As they share personal details, we learn about what led them to their incarceration, delicately shaping a portrait of lives gone awry.

From the descriptions of the sandwiches (supercharged lobster rolls and Cubanos, PB&Js with cinnamon and nutmeg) to the ongoing cruelties of life on the wrong side of the tracks, Nottage fleshes out her world with such emotional depth. We’re immersed in her world, thoroughly invested everyone’s actions whether building up sandwiches or self-respect.

Linton’s production matches the writing for effectiveness. An ensemble of , Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Patrick Gibson, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Sebastian Orozco and Giles Terera are all top-notch, guided by Kane Husbands’ movement into moments of beautiful choreography in the worn authenticity of Frankie Bradshaw’s design. Beautiful stuff.

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