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 Rourke‘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.
English actress Hayley Atwell made her West End debut as Catherine in A View From The Bridge at the Duke of York’s in 2009, earning an Olivier award nomination. In September 2011 she appeared in the world premiere of Alexia Kaye Campbell’s third play The Faith Machine on the Jerwood stage at the Royal Court Theatre. Directed by Jamie Lloyd. it’s based on the premise that making choices has consequences. The Standard’s Henry Hutchings used the phrase ‘karmic boomerang’ as an appealing way to convey the notion that one’s choices have inevitable repercussions and must reconcile the seductions of different belief and value systems. Having faith might seem reasonable when you are conscious of it’s unreasonable nature. In this play, Hayley played Sophie, an inspirational journalist who suddenly hurls her bewildered lover, Tom (Kyle Soller) a choice, right at the beginning: either he quits being an advertising exec for a corrupt pharmaceutical multinational or she’s leaving. The choice he makes and the events of that day changes their lives forever. Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail called it a “breakthrough in the religion versus atheism battle. In fact it’s almost enough to make one say ‘Hallelujah’.”
I haven’t had much luck with sketches being returned from the Royal Court and Sloane Square is on the outer fringes of my graph-hunting territory. As one of the lines in the play noted,”The real world is cruel and harsh and full of compromise.” A little overstated for my situation, but compromise I did. I put my faith in Hayley’s London agents and left it with them-a choice that had excellent consequences.
The revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s hilarious and heartfelt 2008 landmark play, The Pride, just concluded after an extended run at the Trafalgar Studios due to overwhelming demand. It examines changing attitudes to sexuality, looking at intimacy, identity and the courage it takes to be who you really are.
It featured Hayley Atwell, Harry Hadden-Paton, Al Weaver and Mathew Horne in what critics described as “an era-spanning masterpiece… brilliant, vibrant and ingenious.”
I gave my sketch to Harry at the theatre and he and the cast signed it on the final performance on Saturday.