The Motive and the Cue
Paperback, 112 pages ISBN: 9781839041532Publication Date:
27 Apr 2023
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
Ebook, 112 pages ISBN: 9781788506540Publication Date:
27 Apr 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

On Stage at:
Noel Coward Theatre, West End
From Sat 9 Dec 2023 to Sat 23 Mar 2024
  • Best Play - Evening Standard Theatre Awards - 2023

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. Commissioned and co-produced by Neal Street Productions, it opened at the National Theatre, London, in May 2023, directed by Sam Mendes and featuring Johnny Flynn as Burton, Mark Gatiss as Gielgud and Tuppence Middleton as Taylor.

The Motive and the Cue was named Best Play at the 2023 Evening Standard 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

'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
Paperback,112 pages ISBN: 9781839041532Publication Date:
27 Apr 2023
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
Ebook,112 pages ISBN: 9781788506540Publication Date:
27 Apr 2023
£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)

Also by Jack Thorne:

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

Go to author page...

Similar Titles
The extraordinary story of the relationship between the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and the impresario Sergei Diagh...
A comedy drama set in the seedily glamorous world of 17th-century London theatre.
A comedy drama about an all-female theatre company touring Britain during the darkest days of World War Two, written...
Ian Kelly’s riotously funny play, based on his award-winning biography of Samuel Foote, explores our obsession with c...
A play about passion, suspicion and revenge, based on true events involving some of the twentieth century's most infl...
A powerful drama about the first ladies of France and America, as their husbands clash over an international crisis.