Drawing: Johnetta Eula’Mae Ackles in A Very Very Very Dark Matter

Autographed drawing of Johnetta Eula'Mae Ackles in A Very Very Very Dark Matter at London's Bridge Theatre

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.

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Drawing: Michelle Fairley in Julius Caesar

Autographed drawing of Michelle Fairley in Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre in London

Northern Irish actress Michelle Fairley is well known to TV viewers as Catelyn Stark in GAME OF THRONES and the recurring role of Dr Ava Hessington in the US Network series SUITS. She has also appeared in such British classics as THE BILL, HOLBY CITY, CASULTY and LOVEJOY. On the bigger screen, Michelle played Mrs Granger in the HARRY POTTER AND THE DEADLY HALLOWS films.

Her extensive stage work includes an Olivier Award nomination for her portrayal as Emilia in the Donmar Warehouse 2007 production of Shakespeare’s OTHELLO. Earlier this year she played the rash, impassioned soldier and conspirator Cassius in another one of the Bard’s tragedies JULIUS CAESAR at the new Bridge Theatre situated by a Tower Bridge on London’s South Bank.

It was described by the Metro’s theatre critic, appropriately named Adam Bloodworth as a “turbo-charged performance.”

I left this sketch of Michelle at the stage door and it came back, signed and dedicated.