Devon-Elise Johnson is currently playing Ann opposite Charlie Stemp in Half A Sixpence in the West End, transferred from Chichester Festival Theatre. It was an absolute delight doing this interview, always a pleasure to speak to someone, fascinating and highly talented.
I’ve caught you on a two show day, but what would you normally do during the day before the show?
I live about an hour and a half away, and it’s such a physical show I usually sleep as much as I can before hopping on the train. I have to keep my energy up for Flash, Bang, Wallop!
What’s been your favourite role or is this it?
Two roles come to mind. I loved playing Kim in Taboo. It was in a small theatre and I got to dress up as a goth and I really enjoyed, it was a great fun show. I like the role of Ann because it is empowering being a strong character. The fact that she’s not a pushover and knows her own mind is really enjoyable to play.
What roles do you aspire and would absolutely love to play?
I’ve always wanted to play Roxy in Chicago she’s got something about her. She’s gutsy and sassy and I just love that. I absolutely adore Chicago ever since I first saw it I fell in love with it. The other role I’d love to play is Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie. It’s such a great role.
Is there anybody that you would love to work with and haven’t done yet?
Imelda Staunton, she is absolutely incredible, I saw her in Sweeney Todd and Gypsy and oh my god she is just amazing. In Gypsy she had me in tears.
What other shows have you seen recently that have stayed with you?
I didn’t see it live but Cameron Macintosh invited me to a private screening at the Soho Hotel of Miss Saigon and wow! I’d never seen it before and I just couldn’t believe it, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
My Usual three quirky questions:
If you could go back in time to any period in history when would you choose and why?
I’m completely obsessed with the Victorian era. The fashion, so the corsets and long skirts and just the period when women were so beautiful and elegant. I’m in my element in this show. Obviously if I could choose I’d be wealthy because the clothes and hair were just so lovely.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
Definitely to read people’s minds to know what people are thinking in an audition that would be really useful. I can lip read but to be able to read people’s minds would be fun.
Who is the most influential person in your world today?
My mum and dad, they are so supportive and have never once said why don’t you do something else, or what you are doing is silly . They have always encouraged me and supported me. It was my mum who got me my audition for Billy Elliot at the age of 13 and it was then that I knew this is what I wanted to do. They are just the most supportive parents you could ever wish for.
That’s a lovely way to finish the interview so thank you for being such a pleasure to talk to Devon-Elise, and make sure you go and watch her in this wonderful show, I guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face.