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Review: CLYDE'S at Studio Theatre

by Lynn Nottage, directed by Candis C. Jones is up at 14th Street’s Studio Theatre through April 9.

By: Mar. 14, 2023
Review: CLYDE'S at Studio Theatre  Image
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Tony nominated work by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage expertly humanizes the felonious kitchen staff of a truck stop sandwich shop through humor, storytelling and the power of possibility.

Clyde (Dee Dee Batteast), the title character and big, bad boss of the restaurant, drinks on the job, is loose with her hands and sharp with the tongue. She runs a tight ship and is both crude and caring without taking up too much space in the narrative. She has laser focus and refuses to deviate from the trusted recipes in lieu of head chef Montrellous's (Lamont Thompson) lofty idea of turning the shop into an upscale "legitimate" restaurant. Rounding out the cast of misfits are the sous chef, Rafael (Brandon Ocasio), saucier, Letita (Kashayna Johnson) and newcomer Jason (Quinn M. Johnson). Though this rambunctious bunch have a lot of fun and frustrations, they manage to transform lists of ingredients into lyric poetry in pursuit of crafting the perfect sandwich.

Batteast embodies Clyde very well, showing her strong facade as well as war torn interior with taste and grace. Ocasio, Johnson and Johnson all bring depth and levity to their characters and really are the stars of this production. Thompson, like his character, keeps everything magical and grounded.

Candis C. Jones has made wonderful choices in her mount of Clyde's for the DC stage. In addition to the acting, there are many aspects of this production that are cool and of note.The moody lighting design (Colin K. Bills) is the atmospheric reminder that even electricity is tuned in to the energetic frequencies at play in the kitchen. Junghyun Georgia Lee (Set Design) gives a fully functioning kitchen with live ingredients and edible props. There are even essential oil scents dispersed via diffusers. It's an uninterrupted, immersive experience and participation is highly encouraged.

Review: CLYDE'S at Studio Theatre  Image
Quinn M. Johnson (Jason), Brandon Ocasio (Raphael), Lamont Thompson (Montrellous), Dee Dee Batteast (Clyde), Kashayna Johnson (Letitia)


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