While appearing in the most successful film of all time, Marvel’s AVENGERS:ENDGAME, reprising the role of Agent Peggy Carter, which she played in 2011 in the superhero film CAPTAIN AMERICA:THE FIRST AVENGER, Hayley Atwell appeared in three productions on the London stage.
The first, Sarah Burgess’s cut-throat comedy DRY POWDER at the Hampstead Theatre ran in the early Spring of 2018. Haley played the ‘acid-tongued, empathy-free Jenny alongside Tom Riley’s Seth as partners in a New York private equity firm reeling from a PR disaster caused by their boss. For the uninitiated ‘dry powder’ means the remaining capital in a private equity fund… if that helps. In his Financial Times review Ian Shuttleworth called Haley “the sharpest knife in the box.”
Later in the year she and Jack Lowden alternated lead roles in Josie Roukre’s reimagined production of Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE, before her portrayal as the strident Rebecca West in Henrik Ibsen’s ROSERSHOLM at the Duke of York’s in the summer.
She kindly signed my DRY POWDER sketch at the Duke of York’s during the ROSERSHOLM run.
Jamie Lloyd’s 2010 production of Oscar Wilde’s controversial, once-banned 1892 biblical play Salome featured actor,writer and director, Zawe Ashton in the title role as the wilful, head-hunting daughter of Herodias. Beginning in May at the Curve Theatre in Leicester it finished with a run at London’s Hampstead Theatre. “This updated Salome comes at you shrouded in mist, with a thumping soundtrack and its pants right down at its ankles and dragging in the dirt,” wrote Aleks Sierz in The Arts Desk, describing Zawe’s portrayal as “feisty raucousness”. The Guardian’s Michael Billington said “Zawe Ashton’s dancing to a ghetto blaster and voluptuously kissing the severed head suggests an adolescent in the grip of fierce erotic imaginings.”
The Screen International’s 2009 ‘Star of Tomorrow’ and the winner of Cosmopolitian Magazine’s‘Ultimate Newcomer’ trophy at the Women of the Year’ Awards in 2012, Zawe is currently under commission to The Bush Theatre and the Clean Break Theatre Company. She is also appearing in the London Premiere of Abi Morgan’s Splendour at the Donmar Warehouse, where I caught up with her to sign this Salome sketch going in for last Saturday’s matinee.
Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn is currently in season at the Hampstead Theatre, directed by Peter DuBois. After University, Catherine and Gwen chose opposite paths. Catherine becomes a high flying academic and author, while Gwen builds a home with a husband and children. Decades later, each woman covets the other’s life. It’s a dissection of modern gender politics in a virtuosic comedy. It received four stars from The Times, Evening Standard, Telegraph, Independent and Time Out. Emilia Fox and Emma Fielding play Catherine and Gwen respectively. Both signed the drawing at the theatre last. The play continues until 22 February 2014.