PMD Reviews

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Clyde's at Donmar Warehouse (Nov 23)

November 16, 20233 min read

"You will leave with sandwiches on the mind, but a fresh take on how the marginalised struggle." - Jade-Marie Joseph


Lynn Nottage and Lynette Linton team up to give us the masterpiece, we know as ‘Clyde’s’. When I first heard about this play I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I thought, how could a sandwich bar be the ingredient for a compelling story, but I was pleasantly surprised

There are many ingredients in this show and I mean that literally. The main ingredients we have, are an awful but at times sorrowful owner Clyde played by Gbemisola Ikumelo’s. Her young and buoyant employee’s, Leticia (Ronkẹ Adékọluẹ́jọ́) who lit the stage with her youthful energy and charisma, which kept one’s eyes peeled to her.

Jack (Patrick Gibson) and Rafael (Sebastian Orozco), they all have a ‘colourful’ background.

They have been given the chance to earn a living by Clyde and no matter how strenuous the tasks and environment may be, they try their best and work hard.

Then there is Montrellous (Giles Terera) the Kitchen sensei, they all look up to him.

It is a high octane, bustling, comedy-filled piece of theatre.

We are transported into their world of chaos and glimpses of hope, in a worse for wear, run down kitchen in Pennsylvania. The first moment we see Clyde, she doesn’t appear to be that dreadful but that’s what sets us up for the rollercoaster you go on with her. Montrellous, on the other hand, has the vision to see that this truck stop can be something grand and tries to convince Clyde but with no avail.  

The set and technical part of the play added to so many specific and riveting parts. The way the table lit under a sandwich that what was freshly made, the spotlight on a character, who then goes on to show what they are suffering from internally. The ‘Clyde’s’ sign flickering and the faint crackle that it made; all these events added to the realism but also the surreal parts that would burst through and kept us, the audience on our toes.

The tone changed quite dramatically nearing to the second half, we get to see more of the characters and their pasts and the comedy was still there but broken by heartfelt, monologues. The description of the sandwiches was nothing short of art, poetry with food as its topic is the best way to put it.

The character arc was the most exciting part for me, discovering what exactly they did to end up in such a position in life. Although, would have loved to have known a bit more about Clyde’s past, there’s snippets in her speech… but the rest is very much left to your imagination.

This play recognises and highlights the struggle that most people don’t see in their average day to day, but Clyde’s was like looking through a peephole into the lives of those who are left to the wayside.

We see how those with a criminal background aren’t always given a fair shot and either go back to the same lifestyle or work in horrendous conditions.

This is a real, authentic piece of art which will have you experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions and at times, can make one feel quite awkward and most definitely hungry.

Undoubtedly, you will leave with sandwiches on the mind, but a fresh take on how the marginalised struggle … with hope running through their veins.

Clyde's by Lynn Nottage, Donmar Warehouse, 16th Oct - 2nd December 2023


4 Moons Out of 5 🌕🌕🌕🌕

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Jade-Marie Joseph

Jade-Marie Joseph is an actor and a member of the Youth Board at Purple Moon Drama

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