The Motive and the Cue
by Jack Thorne
Directed by Sam Mendes
National Theatre, London
3 July 2023
Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and
Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton
in The Motive and the Cue
at the National Theatre May 2023
Photo by Mark Douet
The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre in London is currently one of the hottest tickets in town.
There are numerous reasons why this show is so popular, starting with the fact that it tells the story of when two acting giants of the 20th century, Sir John Gielgud and Richard Burton, came together to stage Hamlet on Broadway in 1964. This was at a time when Burton had just married Elizabeth Taylor, and they were the most famous couple in the world. Mark Gatiss and Johnny Flynn recreate Gielgud and Burton respectively.
The play is written by Jack Thorne, the amazingly prolific author for stage and screen, and directed by Sam Mendes.
So many reasons to want to see this show. Jodi Rilot returns to help me to assess whether it lives up to its billing.