Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles is a very cool name and a very, very cool American actress, who made her professional stage debut late last year in Martin McDonagh’s A VERY VERY VERY DARK MATTER at London’s Bridge Theatre.
The minute Johnetta played a captive Congolese, one-legged pygmy, who is forced to live inside a 3 foot box in the creepy Copenhagen attic of the author Hans Christian Andersen, supplying him with all his stories. Her name is Mbute, but he calls her Marjory.
It’s a “wildly inventive dismantling of the great Danish storyteller,” wrote the Guardian’s Michael Billington in his four-star review. He highlighted two extraordinary performances in particular, one by Jim Broadbent as Andersen and the other by Johnetta, who he called “remarkable… she combines the pathos of the exploited with the wiliness of a time-travelling powerhouse driven by the urge to protect her people.”
I met Johnetta after a Saturday matinee prior to Christmas, where she signed this sketch. The production completed its run last weekend.