Theatre News

Exclusive: Full cast, including Janie Dee, announced for ”The Motive and the Cue” at the National Theatre

Janie Dee
Janie Dee
© Jennie Scott

Exclusive: Full casting has been revealed for world premiere of Jack Thorne’s new play The Motive and the Cue.

Directed by Sam Mendes, who recently won a Tony Award for his production of The Lehman Trilogy (which also first opened at the National), the play is is co-produced with Neal Street Productions (who also worked on Lehman).

It is set during the rehearsal period for John Gielgud’s landmark, Broadway production of Hamlet, led by a newly married Richard Burton in the title role. It is based on the memoirs of two members of the cast – William Redfield and Richard L Sterne.

Playing Burton is Johnny Flynn (True West), while Gielgud is to be played by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and Tuppence Middleton (the Downton Abbey movies) plays Burton’s famous wife Elizabeth Taylor.

Set to join them and announced today is multi-award-winning Janie Dee (Carousel, Follies), returning to the National Theatre to play the role of famous Scottish-American actress Eileen Hurlie, who played Gertrude in Gielgud’s Hamlet.

Hurlie played Gertrude three times in her career, the second time being in 1947 when, at 29, she was 11 years younger than Hamlet star Laurence Olivier. During Gielgud’s production of Hamlet (explored in Thorne’s play), Hurlie was only eight years older than Burton.

The cast also includes 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.

Set design is by Es Devlin, while the costume designer is Katrina Lindsay, lighting designer is Jon Clark, composer is Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, sound designer is Paul Arditti, video designer is Luke Halls and casting is by Alastair Coomer CDG and Naomi Downham. The associate director is Zoé Ford Burnett.

The show opens in the Lyttelton Theatre at the National on 20 April, with the show booking through to 15 July.