The Motive and the Cue

See a fascinating true story with The Motive and the Cue play tickets

A legendary battle of talent and nerve between theatre legends Richard Burton and John Gielgud is revealed in The Motive and the Cue play, fresh from an acclaimed season at the National Theatre. Academy Award winner Sam Mendes’ stylish and cinematic production, starring Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss, transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre for a strictly limited season. This is a must-see for fans of theatre, history, and the allure of behind-the-scenes drama. 

It is 1964, and Richard Burton – newly married to one of the most famous women on the planet, Elizabeth Taylor – is working on a groundbreaking production of Hamlet on Broadway. His director is John Gielgud, a legendary theatre artist from a generation above him. Gielgud has a clear vision. Burton isn’t afraid to disagree. Soon, these two heavyweights are locking horns in a battle of wills, and the links between actor, director and celebrity culture are about to break with dramatic results.

The Motive and the Cue play is written by Olivier Award winner Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty; James Bond: Skyfall). It premiered at the National Theatre’s Olivier Theatre, and was hailed by critics as a “love letter to theatre” (Evening Standard). 

Johnny Flynn plays rising star Richard Burton, opposite Mark Gatiss as declining star John Gielgud. Flynn is an actor and singer known for roles in Channel 4’s Lovesick, and plays Jerusalem and Hangmen. Gatiss is an award-winning actor, writer and director known for Sherlock, Doctor Who and The League of Gentlemen

Boasting “dazzling” (Time Out) performances from its lead actors and “compassionate” (Financial Times) storytelling, The Motive and the Cue is a fascinating, glimpse into the creative process and real personalities behind the starry names. Catch it in the West End from December 2023.

Child friendly?

The Motive and the Cue play is recommended for age 12+.