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National Theatre: The Motive and the Cue

June 9 @ 7:30 pm

Publicity poster for Motive and the Cue

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


It’s New York, 1964 and Richard Burton is at the peak of his career. Having recently starred in Cleopatra with his now wife Elizabeth Taylor, Burton is cast in the latest reincarnation of Hamlet, directed by notable stage and screen actor John Gielgud. With Gielgud turning his career to theatre direction, his stardom has begun to wane.

As a play that is performed on theatres year after year, Gielgud’s goal is to make a Hamlet that has never been seen before –he will do this by performing the play as though it is still in rehearsal, with casual dress and ‘unfinished’ lines. As Burton disregards the modern and wants to hold onto the classic, he increasingly shows up to rehearsals drunk and aggressive, yet Gielgud disregards this.


Tensions run between Burton and Gielgud throughout as their egos battle one another. This fraction causes the rest of the cast to become more tense and unhappy with the rehearsals, yet the starlet Taylor can be seen to host parties and events to smoothen these emotions, whilst also cure her own boredom as she is trapped alone in the pair’s hotel room.


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.


Press reviews
★★★★★ ‘A brilliant, compassionate new play’ (Financial Times)
★★★★★ ‘Immaculately directed by Sam Mendes’ (Times)
★★★★★ ‘Mark Gatiss gives the performance of his career’ (Telegraph)
★★★★★ ‘Smooth and sophisticated’ (WhatsOnStage)
★★★★ ‘Will give you goosebumps’ (Independent)


BBFC Rating: 12A

Tickets: £15.00

Box Office: CLICK HERE


Bromsgrove Arts
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Bromsgrove Arts @ Fairfield Village Hall
Stourbridge Road
Fairfield, Worcestershire B61 9LZ United Kingdom
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