The Belle's Stratagem by Hannah Cowley
adapted and directed by Tony Cownie
"Vanity, like murder, will out."
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.
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