The Motive and the Cue
Paperback, 104 pages ISBN: 9781839043116Publication Date:
14 Dec 2023
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
Ebook, 104 pages ISBN: 9781788507622Publication Date:
14 Dec 2023
£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
First Staged:
National Theatre, London, 2023

The Motive and the Cue

By Jack Thorne

Paperback £10.99£8.79

Ebook £10.99£8.79

  • Best New Play - Critics' Circle Awards - 2024
  • Best Play - Evening Standard Awards - 2023

1964: Richard Burton, the firebrand Welsh actor, newly married to movie star Elizabeth Taylor, is to play the title role in an experimental new production of Hamlet under the exacting direction of John Gielgud.

But as rehearsals progress, the collaboration between actor and director soon threatens to unravel. One of them is the most famous movie star in the world; the other, a patrician from an earlier age of theatre. The stage is set for two titans to collide.

Jack Thorne's The Motive and the Cue is a fierce, funny play which offers a glimpse into the politics of a rehearsal room and the relationship between art and celebrity. This edition was published alongside the West End transfer in 2023, following its world premiere at the National Theatre, London, earlier that year. Originally commissioned and co-produced by Neal Street Productions, it was directed by Sam Mendes, and starred Johnny Flynn as Burton, Mark Gatiss as Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Taylor. It was named Best Play at the 2023 Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and Best New Play at the 2024 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards.

Press Quotes

'Marvellous... a quite wonderful new play... full of compassion, funny, witty and utterly compelling... This play is Thorne and Mendes's own love letter to the stage, full of both intellect and passion, clever and profoundly moving'


'Enjoyable and hugely adroit'

Evening Standard

'Witty, deft, and touching... a palpable hit'


'Magical... deeply affecting... not just a heartfelt plea for the power of theatre, but a moving, often very funny, story about two generations teasing and provoking one another'


'Fascinating... a dual of egos in which not just the play, but the two men's sense of their selves is at stake'

The Stage

'A riotous peek behind the scenes... sensational'

Time Out

'Thrilling... an undeniably magnificent tour de force. Theatre should thank its lucky stars for Thorne. He has reminded us all why we went to the theatre and why we continue to go'

Broadway World

'Blazingly triumphant... a story about humanity, vulnerability, reconciliation'


'Beautifully written... Jack Thorne's dramatisation of the events is powerful and entertaining in equal measure'

The Upcoming

'Stunning... Thorne's gloriously rich script subtly dissects the various relationships of the players, and it's magical to see it all unfold... a brilliant piece of theatre'

Theatre Weekly

'Part mischievous comedy and part docu-drama... a funny and affectionate love letter from theatre to itself'

Reviews Hub

'Magic... breathtaking in its simplicity and beauty'

Paperback,104 pages ISBN: 9781839043116Publication Date:
14 Dec 2023
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
Ebook,104 pages ISBN: 9781788507622Publication Date:
14 Dec 2023
£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)

Also by Jack Thorne:

Jack Thorne Plays: Two
CripTales: Six Monologues
the end of history...
The Solid Life of Sugar Water
Let the Right One In
After Life
Jack Thorne Plays: One
When Winston Went to War with the Wireless
A Christmas Carol
Burying Your Brother in the Pavement
2nd May 1997
Whiff Whaff
Fanny and Faggot
Stacy & Fanny and Faggot: two plays
When You Cure Me
Red Car, Blue Car

Go to author page...

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