Two ages of theatre collide in this fierce and funny new play - Sam Mendes directs Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton, Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor.

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Two ages of theatre collide in this fierce and funny new play - Sam Mendes directs Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton, Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor.

1964: Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new production of Hamlet under John Gielgud’s exacting direction.

But as rehearsals progress, two ages of theatre collide and the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel.

Why would the most famous movie star in the world choose to do a play which everyone already knows? And what lures us back to the same plays, year after year?

This fierce and funny new play by Jack Thorne (Best Interests, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) offers a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the relationship between art and celebrity.

Designed by Es Devlin (The Crucible, The Lehman Trilogy) with Sam Mendes (The Lehman Trilogy, Skyfall) directing Johnny Flynn (Stardust, One Life) as Richard Burton, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The Madness of George III) as John Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton (Downton Abbey, Our House) as Elizabeth Taylor.

The Motive and The Cue, winner of the 2023 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best New Play, was filmed live during a sold-out run at the National Theatre.

***** “Full of both intellect and passion, clever and profoundly moving”  WhatsOnStage

***** “An undeniably magnificent tour de force”  Broadway World

*****  “Jack Thorne’s brilliant, compassionate new play” Financial Times

****  “For theatre lovers, it is manna from heaven…a moving, often very funny, story”  Independent

****  “Mark Gatiss and Johnny Flynn are mesmerising” The Stage

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The Motive and the Cue is inspired by the books Letters from an Actor by William Redfield and John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet by Richard L. Stern. Two actors who appeared in the record breaking 1964 production of Hamlet on Broadway and witnessed the project first hand.

A Co-production with Neal Street Productions.

Content advisory: The Motive and the Cue contains some strong language and adult themes.

Filmed live on the Lyttelton stage at London’s National Theatre.



Enjoy an in-depth review of The Motive and The Cue with freelance London theatre critic Mickey-Jo Boucher: https://www.youtube.com/embed/qZ7ewjcF3XE

 


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