The Motive and the Cue (West End)
Closed 2h 40m
The Motive and the Cue (West End)
89

The Motive and the Cue (West End) London Reviews and Tickets

89%
(551 Ratings)
Positive
92%
Mixed
4%
Negative
4%
Members say
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious

About the Show

Sam Mendes directs the West End transfer of Jack Throne's play about Burton and Gielgud’s Hamlet.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (125)

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112 Reviews | 6 Followers
100
Must see, Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if You like Shakespeare or are interested in the history of theatre

Don't see it if You only like musicals

224 Reviews | 42 Followers
100
Must see, Epic, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you love theatre or film a great point in history

Don't see it if you don't like to learn about the classics

55 Reviews | 5 Followers
100
Exquisite, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if you are a theatre person and want to enjoy your passion with the most talented cast.

Don't see it if no reason at all. one of the best plays I’ve ever seen and definitely the best of this year.

50 Reviews | 2 Followers
96
Must see, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Funny

See it if You love theatre. This really is a masterfully crafted love letter to the art form that is driven by two exceptional lead performances.

Don't see it if You prefer action based material. This dialogue heavy.

63 Reviews | 3 Followers
96
Masterful, Great staging, Exquisite, Absorbing, Clever

See it if you like straight plays jam packed with wit, allure and drama

Don't see it if you aren’t a fan of more serious theatre, plus there are no microphones so maybe difficult to hear at the back Read more

70 Reviews | 2 Followers
95
Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You want to see fantastic performances based on a fascinating story.

Don't see it if You don’t like the history of theatre or long wordy plays.

69 Reviews | 8 Followers
90
Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Clever

See it if you enjoy a battle of the actors; an old school play about a play within a play; want to see how a play is created; love Hamlet

Don't see it if you're not prepared to suffer for art - the Balcony was boiling hot, airless and required edge of the seat leaning to see

70 Reviews | 3 Followers
90
Masterful, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to be transported back in time to see the relationship between two of theatre’s greats. The last scene is incredible.

Don't see it if You’re not prepared to concentrate. It requires some thought on your part.

Critic Reviews (11)

Stage Buddy
January 18th, 2024

"The Motive and the Cue is most effective is in showing...behind the scenes of a play."
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The Telegraph (UK)
December 19th, 2023

“...Jack Thorne’s ‘The Motive and the Cue,’ is a rapier-witted and stirring love-letter to theatre, and to Hamlet, and to two of the play’s most notable 20th-century exponents – John Gielgud and Richard Burton”
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WhatsOnStage
December 19th, 2023

“This Gielgud is – like the real man – often very funny. But it is the triumph of both play and performance that he is so much more than that. He becomes a symbol of human frailty and of resilience. In his belief in art, he becomes a beacon for life.”
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The Times (UK)
December 19th, 2023

“If you have any interest in the power of theatre, I urge you to catch a play that’s both an exploration of it and a remarkable vindication of it.”
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Theatre Weekly (UK)
December 18th, 2023

Sam Mendes and Jack Thorne have together created a brilliant piece of theatre, certainly one that’s fascinating to anyone with an interest in the industry, but equally entertaining for anyone who loves a good story. Watching The Motive and the Cue, we should all be grateful that coin landed the way it did, because it shows us the happenings of the rehearsal room can be just as dramatic as anything happening on stage.
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London Theatre
December 19th, 2023

“Sam Mendes’s production is stylish in the way it matches Hollywood glamour with the intellectual rigours of the theatre docudrama-style: time is marked by projections of the days and relevant quotes from Hamlet...One thing is for sure: it’s a play that epitomises the epithet ‘A love letter to theatre’.”
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All That Dazzles (UK)
December 19th, 2023

“ ‘The Motive and The Cue’ is the kind of historical drama that will live on and be loved for as long as the fascination with the stars and stages of old can stretch. Bolstered by immaculate work from its leads and a sharp, insightful script, it will likely be a late entry to many end of the year lists for those of us who missed it at the National.”
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Lost in Theatreland (UK)
December 20th, 2023

“The resulting shape of ‘The Motive and the Cue’ is both polished and full-blooded. It’s the grandeur and significance of Shakespeare laid bare. It’s history in the making: process and performance.”
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