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85-88 St Martins Lane, London WC2N 4AU

The Motive and The Cue

Closed March 23, 2024

Burton/Gielgud luvvie-off will give you goosebumps

The Independent

Why See The Motive and The Cue?

2024 Olivier NomineesPlaysOlivier Nominees

West End Transfer

Fresh from a nigh-on sold-out run at the National's Lyttleton Theatre, this Olivier-nominated (Best New Play, Best Actor, Best Director) new play from Jack Thorne transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre for a strictly limited reprise, beginning in December 2023. Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Mark Gatiss, Johnny Flynn, and Tuppence Middleton, this vibrant and ferociously funny piece offers a peek into a rehearsal room boiling over with ego as John Gielgud (Gatiss) prepares to direct Richard Burton (Flynn) as Hamlet on Broadway.

In 'a love letter to the theatre' (Evening Standard) the two go head to head, clashing over almost every detail as the old-school Gieulgud is forced to recon with the rebellious, newly married Burton. With their careers, values and a lot of money on the line, can the two work together, or will this Hamlet be struck down before the first act?

No stranger to rehearsal rooms, Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing recipient Jack Thorne is one of the UK's most in-demand writers with credits including Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, Let The Right One In, After Life and the upcoming Stranger Things: The First Shadow.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 9 December 2023

Cast and Creative


Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud
Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton
Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor
Allan Corduner as Hume Cronyn
Sarah Woodward as Eileen Herlie
Rebecca Collingwood as Linda Marsh
Luke Norris as William Redfield
Laurence Ubong Williams as Hugh McHaffie
Elena Delia as Jessica Levy
Huw Parmenter as Clement Fowler
Aaron Anthony as Robert Milli
Adam Sina as Frederick Young
Ryan Ellsworth as George Voskovec
Daniel Krikler as Dillon Evans and Waiter
David Tarkenter as Alfred Drake
Kate Tydman as Christine Cooper
Mark Extance as Mick Burrows
Stephanie Siadatan as Susannah Mason.


Written by Jack Thorne
Directed by Sam Mendes
Set design by Es Devlin
Costume design by Katrina Lindsay
Lighting by Jon Clark
Composed by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell
Sound by Paul Arditti
Casting by Alastair Coomer CDG and Naomi Downham


Olivier Award Nominations - 2024

Best New Play
Best Actor - Mark Gatiss
Best Director - Sam Mendes

What you thought

1 reviews, average rating: (5.0 Stars)

5.0 star rating

Jackie Dicks: “The Motive and the Cue”

One of the best plays I have seen. Mark Gatiss as Gielgud, Johnny Flynn... more

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