“Clyde’s” Meets the Devil at the Crossroads of the Omaha Community PlayhouseAug 21, 2023 02:59PM ● By Tamsen Butler
On the surface, “Clyde’s,” a Broadway staging currently running at the Omaha Community Playhouse, feels like a fun play about a zany cast of characters in a diner on the quest to make the perfect sandwich. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a story of oppression, the societal treatment of oppressed communities, and the ardent pursuit of redemption despite adversity.
Featuring a small cast of five on a masterfully designed stage, “Clyde’s” tells the story of employees at a roadside diner that exclusively employs felons recently released from the prison system. Clyde (Kerri Forrester) plays the maniacal owner who exploits and harasses her employees, intent on keeping them in their place. Montrellous (Aaron Quinton-Thomas Butler) is her opposite, the wise sage of the sandwich makers, offering a smooth voice and calming advice to the rest of the cast to cancel out some of Clyde’s chaos.
Forrester offers a larger-than-life character in her portrayal of Clyde. Her delight in the mischievous moments make her a welcome addition to the stage when she appears despite the abhorrent character she plays. And when she’s mean, Forrester makes everyone in the space feel uncomfortable – including the audience. Her ability to toy with everyone’s emotions is a testament to her acting abilities.
Angel Hernandez (Rafael), Olivia Howard (Leticia), and Josh Peyton (Jason) deliver solid performances that manage to convey vulnerability despite their hardened criminal façade. Peyton’s performance of a remorseful yet guarded felon manages to win the sympathy of the audience despite the vile Aryan tattoos on his face.
The chemistry of the cast shines throughout the performance. It’s easy to imagine them all working together day to day, forming bonds and relationships.
The Howard Drew Theater at the Omaha Community Playhouse is the perfect venue for this staging because the intimate setting makes audience members feel as though they’re sitting in the diner’s kitchen.
With a 95-minute run time and no intermission, this play is riddled with adult themes and language and isn’t appropriate for children. It’s also important to note that there are flashing lights without warning.
“Clyde’s” runs August 18-September 17 on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (7:30 p.m.) and Sundays (2:00 p.m.). This play is a conversation starter and shouldn’t be missed!