Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Motive and the Cue @ Lyttelton Theatre...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see Sam Mendes’s riveting production of The Motive and the Cue at the Lyttelton Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank.
Written by the sublime Jack Thorne, The Motive and the Cue tells the story of John Gielgud’s real-life efforts to direct the then world’s biggest film star, Richard Burton, in Shakespeare’s most demanding play, Hamlet, in New York in 1964. Add to the mix the bored, jealous and distracted Elizabeth Taylor, and you have humdinger of a play.
Lifting the lid on the rehearsal room - it's a masterclass in the power dynamic between a director and an actor.
Gielgud is played wonderfully by Mark Gatiss. He looks and sounds spot on. Johnny Flynn captures Burton's voice, mannerisms, and petulant insecurities brilliantly.
When Flynn's Burton shows up drunk and wrecks an entire day of rehearsal, he receives a brutal face slap from Janie Dee’s Eileen. Flynn just gives us a wry smile. He knows he's done wrong and almost enjoys the comeuppance.
Sadly though Dee, like most of the supporting cast, is all but overlooked by the majority of the script - because there isn’t enough stage time to do all the cast justice.
But said, it's a wonderful couple of hours. We relished a glimpse at Gielgud’s gentle approach; exploring the uniquely demanding text, and to a wayward superstar who was free to accept (or to challenge) the notes given during rehearsals.
This isn’t just a great production on stage but a wonderful learning opportunity for us.
Top notch.

@JackThorne @MarkGatiss @JohnnyFlynnHQ @NationalTheatre

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