Bright and colourful Georgian wallpaper decorated with birds and ferns and then 4 curious masks

The Belle’s Stratagem

The Belles Stratagem
by Hannah Cowley
adapted and directed by Tony Cownie

"All I know is whatever we do - it must be twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily that’s not difficult."

We find ourselves in Georgian Edinburgh where the elegant New Town is springing up all around, and the newly opened Assembly Rooms are the centre of social life and romantic intrigue. Despite being betrothed to him since birth, Letitia Hardy finds herself out of favour with the charming and arrogant Doricourt upon his return from Europe, as he declares that continental woman are so much more sophisticated than 'dull Scottish lassies'.

Determined not to marry without love, Letitia formulates a hilarious plan to capture his attention: behave so badly that he calls off the wedding, and then seduce him in disguise! Meanwhile, Doricourt’s close friend Sir George, has a beautiful new wife, the country-born Lady Frances. Escaping his overprotective gaze for an afternoon, she draws the attention of the rake, Courtall, who vows to seduce her.

A witty riposte to Farquhar’s The Beaux Stratagem, Hannah Cowley’s rediscovered gem turns the tables on the farcical goings-on and has the women coming out on top.

As well as transposing this restoration comedy from London to Edinburgh, Tony Cownie’s adaptation will have all the wit, mischief and sumptuous design which audiences have come to expect from his ebullient recent productions at The Lyceum, The Venetian Twins and Thon Man Moliere.

Cast and Credits

Richard Conlon Baile/ Courtall
Angela Hardie Letitia
John Kielty Saville 
Pauline Knowles Mrs Racket
Steven McNicoll Provost
Helen Mackay Lady Frances
Angus Miller Doricourt
Grant O'Rourke Sir George
John Ramage Flutter
Nicola Roy Mrs Ogle/ Kitty

Adapted and Directed by Tony Cownie
Designer Neil Murray
LX Designer Tina MacHugh
Composer John Kielty
Choreographer Kally Lloyd-Jones


What did the audience think? 

Tony Cownie talks about The Belles Strategem. 

Dates, Times & Prices

15 February - 10 March 2018

15 & 16 February
£10 Preview tickets on sale from 15 January

EVENINGS, 7.30pm
Tuesday - Saturday

MATINEES from 21 February, 2pm
Wednesdays and Saturdays

Running Time
Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, includes one 20 minute interval

For Access performances see below


Individual Tickets

Tuesday - Saturday: £16 - £32

Wednesday and Saturday: £14 - £28

from £10, not available on Premium Seats
For full details on concession pricing please contact Box Office on 0131 248 4848

Unreserved seating, all tickets £10
On sale 15 January

All prices guaranteed until 1 September 2017


Thursday 1 March, 7.30pm
Touch Tour, 6.15pm
Saturday 3 March, 2pm
Touch Tour, 12.45pm

Wednesday 28 February, 7.30pm
Cancelled due to adverse weather conditions

Saturday 3 March, 2pm

  • Book Accessible performances here

Read The Lyceum's Access Statement here

Take Part

Tuesday 27 February 2018
Takes place in the Stalls after the evening's performance

  • FREE, no ticket required

Friday 2 March 2018, 6.30pm
LYT will be doing a series of short performances in response to the show on the main stage, just before the show.

Monday 5 March 2018, 7pm
Edinburgh and the Enlightenment
Feat. Professor Linda Colley (Princeton University)

Thursday 8 March 2018, 5.30pm
These workshops will explore varied aspects of the production process to show you how we get a performance from the page to The Lyceum's stage. The session includes complimentary tea & coffee.

Saturday 10 March 2018, 10am
Join us for a practical acting workshop where will explore The Belle's Stratagem and work on key scenes with director Tony Cownie.

  • £12 (£6 for students) / Book Here
    Book for all 6 sessions in Season 2017/18 and save!

Press Coverage

"a sparkling, ribald revival"
The Stage

"the patriarchy stands no chance in a breathless burl of a show."
The Herald

"a riot of feminist fun... tremendously entertaining"
The Guardian

"bursting with comic talent"
The Scotsman

"beautifully staged"
The Times

"a pure, brilliant sparkling gem!"

"a hilarious fantoosh farce"
Edinburgh Guide

"a glorious comic-strip restoration farce... outrageous fun"
Edinburgh Evening News

"a wonderful piece of theatre"
Southside Advertiser

"a joy to watch, and delightfully funny"
Lothian Life

"this is a real crowdpleaser... don't miss this"
Bouquets & Brickbats

"there is never a dull moment"
Young Perspective

"theatre crafted for everyone"
The Reviews Hub

The Skinny

"one of the sharpest comedies to hit a Scottish stage in some time"
Across the Arts 

"a rollicking, riotous dash through Georgian Edinburgh"
Plays to See 

"exemplary comedy"
All Edinburgh Theatre

Broadway Baby

"on the money"


Rehearsal photos:

Production photos: