Neal Street News

Rehearsal images released for the West End transfer of The Motive and The Cue

Rehearsal images have been released for Neal Street Productions and the National Theatre's critically acclaimed West End transfer, The Motive and the Cue.  

Recent winner of ‘Best Play’ at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, this ‘brilliant new play’ (Financial Times), written by Jack Thorne and directed by Sam Mendes, is inspired by the making of Richard Burton and Sir John Gielgud’s landmark Broadway production of Hamlet in 1964.  Offering a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the relationship between art and celebrity, The Motive and the Cue will play for a strictly limited run at the Noël Coward Theatre from 9 December until 23 March 2024.

Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, Johnny Flynn, Mark Gatiss and Tuppence Middleton return to play the iconic roles of Richard Burton, John Gielgud and Elizabeth Taylor in this ‘thrilling rollercoaster of high drama’ (The Sunday Times).

Joining them in this ‘theatrical extravaganza’ (Evening Standard) is, 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, Shaun Yusuf McKee 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 and Stephanie Siadatan as Susannah Mason.

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.

Mendes is joined by set designer, Es Devlin; costume designer, Katrina Lindsay; lighting designer, Jon Clark; composer, Benjamin Kwasi Burrell; sound designer, Paul Arditti with casting by Alastair Coomer CDG and Naomi Downham.  West End director, Zoé Ford Burnett and associate director Yasmin Hafesji complete the creative team.

Originally commissioned by Neal Street Productions and developed and co-produced with the National Theatre, The Motive and the Cue played to sold-out audiences in spring 2023.  It is inspired by Letters from an Actor by William Redfield and John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet by Richard L. Sterne. 

Tickets for this ‘palpable hit’ (Daily Telegraph) are available from £20 at