by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Lynette Linton
Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London
The cast of Clyde’s
Photo by Helen Murray
Jodi and I review Lynn Nottage’s play Clyde’s which is currently on stage at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London. The show is directed by Lynette Linton, who directed Nottage’s last play at the Donmar, Sweat, back in 2018, which I thought was a fabulous show. Clyde’s premiered on Broadway in November 2021, and was nominated for four Tony awards in 2022.
According to American Theatre magazine it was the most-produced play in non-profit theatres in America in 2022–2023, so there’s something about this play that touches a nerve. Lynn Nottage is very well known in America, having won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice: in 2009 for her play Ruined, and in 2017 for Sweat.
Clyde’s is set in the same town of Reading, Pennsylvania, in what is known as America’s rust belt. The title is the name of the truck-stop diner on the outskirts of town that belongs to Clyde. Clyde is a former prisoner in the local penitentiary, as are all of her staff and the four other characters in the play. The stories and characters of this play, and of Sweat, are based on extensive research Nottage carried out in Reading in the 2010s, and the plays certainly have the stamp of lived reality.
Clyde’s runs at the Donmar until 2nd December, but if there’s any justice it will enjoy a longer life with a West End transfer.