The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet

Stage Spy: Is The Motive and the Cue transferring to the West End?

There’s much West End transfer chatter happening at the moment over Jack Thorne’s new drama for the National Theatre – The Motive and the Cue.

Directed by Sam Mendes, the show has got great reviews from the London theatre critics, and there’s been much speculation about when – and where – the show might transfer to in the West End.

Baz in Deadline has now weighed in with some heavy-hitting rumours, coming pretty much directly from the producers, as he quizzes Neal Street Productions co-head Caro Newling about the transfer (Newling runs Neal Street with Sam Mendes).

It seems that a run at the Noel Coward Theatre in September 2023 is the most likely scenario. The Almeida’s production of Peter Morgan drama Patriots starring Tom Hollander is playing there from 26 May to 19 August 2023, but nothing has been announced from September.

Apparently discussions are underway with the cast, to try and tempt them into a run that is longer than the usual 12 weeks, and getting the original cast seems pretty crucial – particularly Mark Gatiss, who plays John Gielgud and has got the reviews of his career for his performance.

The show’s other stars, including Johnny Flynn as Richard Burton, Tuppence Middleton as Elizabeth Taylor, and Janie Dee as Eileen Hurlie, have also been well received.

Janie Dee definitely won’t be available, as she will be performing in Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends over at the Gielgud Theatre from 16 September 2023 to 6 January 2024.

The current cast of The Motive and the Cue also features Aaron Anthony, Tom Babbage, Allan Corduner, Elena Delia, Ryan Ellsworth, Phoebe Horn, Aysha Kala, Luke Norris, Huw Parmenter, David Ricardo-Pearce, David Tarkenter, Kate Tydman, Laurence Ubong Williams and Michael Walters.

The creative team includes designer Es Devlin, and discussions are underway to establish whether the rigging of the Noel Coward Theatre can cope with the demands of her set.

Neal Street Productions are on an absolute roll at the moment, with their National Theatre production of The Lehman Trilogy playing to packed houses at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (until 21 May 2023); and their RSC production of Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti (Life of Pi) and directed by Erica Whyman, running at the Garrick Theatre from 30 September 2023 to 6 January 2024.

Neal Street Productions are part of TV company All3Media – which is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, so expect a potential The Motive and the Cue TV feature or movie also hitting screens at some point.

The Motive and the Cue explores the making of Richard Burton and John Gielgud’s Hamlet on Broadway in the 1960’s. Richard Burton, newly wed to Elizabeth Taylor, stars in the lead role of Hamlet, in an experimental staging directed by the exacting John Gielgud. As the rehearsal process unfolds, two eras of theatre clash and the collaboration between actor and director threatens to unravel, offering a captivating glimpse into the politics of the rehearsal room and the complex relationship between art and celebrity.

Book tickets to The Motive and The Cue at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

The Motive and the Cue – Photos

The Motive and the Cue

Noel Coward Theatre, 

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📷 Main photo: The Motive and the Cue at the National Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet

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