A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

The Motive And The Cue

The Motive And The Cue
25 May 2023
National Theatre
4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Hamlet, one of the most popular plays in history, and still seen as a career defining challenge for many stage actors. The Motive And The Cue looks behind the scenes as John Gielgud directs Richard Burton in a modern-dress production of Hamlet that ended up becoming one of the most successful runs of the play on Broadway.

A play about rehearsals of a play, sounds meta, works surprisingly well. Interspersing scenes from the rehearsal room with personal settings, The Motive And The Cue follows Richard Burton and his new wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as John Gielgud, as they try to make the production work and find out what it means to them.

Two generations of theatre colliding, two strongly opinionated professionals struggling to collaborate. As Burton and Gielgud try to find common ground, the production unravels around them and personal problems rear their heads.

It’s a beautiful production that really surprised me. Very well acted, extremely well presented, and full of intimate moments, The Motive And The Cue takes the audience on a journey to the 1960s, to power struggles, different perspectives on what theatre needs to achieve, and of course personal motivations and conflict.

The production is polished and precise, while portraying very unpolished, human moments that entertain and touch in equal measure. A beautiful homage to theatre!

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