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The Motive and the Cue, photograph by Mark Douet

National Theatre Live: The Motive and the Cue

Thu 21 Mar

National Theatre Live: The Motive and the Cue

a new play by Jack Thorne

directed by Sam Mendes

NAtional Theatre Live: The Motive and the Cue cinema poster, black and white with two male figures stood back to back

★★★★★ ‘A witty, deft, touching evocation of a fascinating, fraught encounter’Telegraph

Sam Mendes (The Lehman Trilogy) directs Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton in this fierce and funny new play.

1964: Richard Burton, newly married to Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new Broadway 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.

Written by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and designed by Es Devlin (The Crucible), the Evening Standard award-winning best new play was filmed live during a sold-out run at the National Theatre.


Show guidance

  • The Motive and the Cue has been rated 15 by the BBFC for ‘strong language’.
  • Run time is 2 hours and 52 minutes (including 13 minute interval at 1 hour 34 minutes)
  • Thu 21 Mar
  • 19:00 to 21:52 (including interval)
  • Advance Prices: £6 UoE Students, £10 Concession, £15 Full / On the Door Prices: £8 UoE Students, £12 Concessions, £16 Full
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