The Motive and the Cue

Sam Mendes directs Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton, Mark Gatiss as John Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor, in this fierce and funny new play by Jack Thorne, offering a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the relationship between art and celebrity.

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.

The hugely celebrated production of The Motive and the Cue transfers to the West End this December for 15 weeks only, following a sold-out run at the National Theatre.

★★★★★ 'A brilliant new play' Financial Times

★★★★★ 'Funny, witty and utterly compelling' WhatsOnStage


2 hours 40 minutes, including an interval


Noel Coward Theatre

85-88 St Martins Lane London WC2N 4AU

Additional Details & FAQ

Access Information

For information on accessibility please call 0344 482 5137.

Cancellation Policy

No exchanges or refunds after purchase.

Suitable For Children

Age recommendation: 12+

Please note: This production contains strong language and adult themes, with some bright lighting.

Everyone, regardless of age, must have their own ticket to enter the theatre. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by and sat next to a ticketholder who is at least 18 years old. Children under the age of 5 will not be admitted. Latecomers may not be admitted until a suitable break but we cannot guarantee admittance into the performance.


4.7(50 reviews)
  • Rachel

    Mar 1, 2024

    Superb acting, and in my view unmissable. A huge thank you to all involved!

  • Sarah B

    Feb 27, 2024

    What an amazing evening! Completely amazing and fantastic and funny performances by Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss, who captured both Burton and Gielgud so incredibly well. A big Bravo to the two of them. Also a really brilliant script by Jack Thorne.

  • Rowena Harris

    Feb 24, 2024

    A very well written play with a strong cast. Effectively staged in a beautiful old theatre. We came away with lots to think about and discuss: the challenges that fame/celebrity gained at a young age can bring, the destructiveness of alcoholism, the vulnerability that comes with aging. Not to mention the nature of live performance and a renewed appreciation of the genius of Shakespeare! And there were laugh out loud moments too.

From £24.00