Review: The Motive and The Cue, National Theatre - a joy to watch
In Jack Thorne's The Motive and the Cue, we are given not one but two plays. Set around the rehearsal period for the famed Broadway production of Hamlet, directed by Sir John Gielgud (Mark Gatiss) and starring Richard Burton (Johnny Flynn), you go behind the scenes as they get ready for opening night, and you get snippets of Hamlet as they rehearse.
Gielgud's star is waning, and working with Burton, while an unlikely pairing, is a calculated move to boost his career. Burton is looking to add credibility to his starry career by working with Gielgud.
He starts the play by apologising to the rest of the cast for the crowd of fans outside the rehearsal room. He's recently married Elizabeth Taylor (Tuppence Middleton), which has elevated his star status further.
The plan is for an unconventional production of Shakespeare's classic play (unconventional for the time). Gielgud wants a stripped-back set akin to the rehearsal room and for the actors to wear their rehearsal attire rather than costumes. (Yes, it's meta.)
Simple ideas and complications
Naturally, the 'relaxed' simplicity causes complications with the choices of rehearsal outfits becoming more considered and tailored.
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