The Motive and the Cue (National Theatre)
Closed 2h 40m
The Motive and the Cue (National Theatre)
82

The Motive and the Cue (National Theatre) London Reviews and Tickets

82%
(39 Ratings)
Positive
85%
Mixed
10%
Negative
5%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Clever

About the Show

Sam Mendes directs a new play by Jack Throne about the making of Burton and Gielgud’s Hamlet.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (39)

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216 Reviews | 42 Followers
100
Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if you like a great piece of theatrical history explaining the greats at each others throats and how this no matter the actor still takes place

Don't see it if you want a normal play as this is something a little different

80 Reviews | 9 Followers
95
Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You're a fan of theatre business, and find the process of creating a show interesting.

Don't see it if You're not interested in the backstage of theatre.

103 Reviews | 11 Followers
93
Relevant, Indulgent, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you like theatrical business, Gielgud, Burton and Hamlet It's a guilty pleasure for theatre lovers.

Don't see it if you are not interested in backstage stories.

209 Reviews | 141 Followers
90
Intelligent, Great acting

See it if /for a bravura performance by Gatiss as Gielgud, or if you love a good backstage story.

Don't see it if It seems to end several times, before falling back on the “and then this happened” titles movies sometimes use.

161 Reviews | 30 Followers
89
Great acting, Masterful, Indulgent, Absorbing

See it if you want a brilliantly acted and directed show- hats off to Gatiss and Mendes. Very stagey, lots of great references- a real ode to theatre.

Don't see it if you have no interest in backstage drama or the process of theatre.

334 Reviews | 21 Followers
88
Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever

See it if You have an interest in theatrical drama

Don't see it if You're not a fan of slow dramas and have no interest in Shakespeare

454 Reviews | 82 Followers
88
Great pacing, Great staging

See it if you are an actor, especially if you've performed Shakespeare.

Don't see it if the run time intimidates you.

58 Reviews | 7 Followers
87
Intelligent, Great acting, Delightful, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You are an actor and are interested in the processssss.

Don't see it if You aren't a Shakespeare fan.

Critic Reviews (11)

The London Evening Standard
May 3rd, 2023

“Thorne’s play does so extremely well but I suspect most people – certainly those outside the hardcore nerd demographic, those that theatres surely want to reach – are more interested in product than process.”
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Time Out London
May 3rd, 2023

“It’s entertaining, with a rousing finale, but I wish ‘The Motive and the Cue’ had more of the grit and weirdness of ‘Hamlet’, not just borrowed its poetry...‘The Motive and the Cue’ may be a love letter to theatre, but in the end it feels a little too Hollywood.”
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The Guardian (UK)
May 3rd, 2023

“There is a real sense of remove too as we watch actors playing actors who, in turn, are playing characters in Hamlet, or unpicking the meanings of the play, scene by scene. Ultimately, this play-about-the-play leaves us wishing we had been there to see Burton in the real thing.”
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The Telegraph (UK)
May 2nd, 2023

"This is a witty, deft, touching evocation of a fascinating, fraught encounter that captures the mood of those times. "
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The Times (UK)
May 3rd, 2023

“Immaculately directed by Sam Mendes, it’s a poised study of how two actors of radically different temperaments sparred in the run-up to opening night...Thorne has deftly woven the elements together, while Mendes gets first-rate performances out of his two leading players.”
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WhatsOnStage
May 3rd, 2023

"This play is Thorne and Mendes's own love letter to the stage, full of both intellect and passion, clever and profoundly moving."
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The Arts Desk
May 8th, 2023

" 'The Motive and the Cue' generates sufficient excitement not to require chivvying along from an outside source: the play and its players are in every way the thing."
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London Theatre
May 3rd, 2023

“Thorne’s play might have too much theatrical in-joking and navel-gazing for some...But the genuine love for the medium is incredibly touching and Thorne cleverly balances that with affectionate lampooning and occasional sharp skewering.”
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