Tony Cownie

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The Belle's Stratagem continues David Greig's campaign to reimagine classic texts

8 Feb 2018

Hannah Cowley's play is a saucy comedy with a decidedly feminist slant

The Royal Lyceum Theatre's 2018 programme continues artistic director David Greig's ambitious campaign to reimagine classic texts for the 21st century: while 18th-century comedy is frequently revived for its saucy humour and witty writing, The Belle's…

Travels with my Aunt features fantastic central performances

9 May 20174 stars

Giles Havergal's romp through the sixties underbelly remains a potent satire

This revival of erstwhile Citizens Artistic Director Giles Havergal's adaptation of Graham Greene's classic, directed by Phillip Breen, should feel like it's preserved in aspic, with little left to say. The eerie design by Mark Bailey suggests as much…

Grant O'Rourke effortlessly captures Wilson's essence in Jocky Wilson Said

28 Mar 20174 stars

Unlikely sports star is given a more than an oche tribute in new A Play, A Pie & A Pint production

The title, of course, alludes to the famous BBC incident that led Irish folk/soul band Dexys Midnight Runners to perform a song about soul great Jackie Wilson, against a backdrop of a diminutive Fife darts hero Jocky on Top of the Pops. There are no…

Theatre review: The Venetian Twins, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh

29 Apr 20154 stars

Carlo Goldoni survives the translation into Scots in highly amusing fashion

Given its positioning in the canon of works by 18th century Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, it’s easy to see why ‘The Venetian Twins’ might be due a revival; after all, it’s immediate predecessor in his list of major plays ‘The Servant of Two Masters…

New revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night created for Edinburgh's Lyceum Theatre

22 Jan 2014

Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical work about addiction and family dysfunction

’It’s so painfully honest,’ says director Tony Cownie when asked about the key to the importance of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a new revival of which he’s created for the Lyceum. ‘It’s very interesting that O’Neill didn’t want the…

Rebus author Ian Rankin set to launch Lyceum’s 2013/14 programme

30 Apr 2013

The new season features works from Chris Hannan, Tony Cownie and David Haig

A play by Ian Rankin is just one of four world premieres and three new co-productions to be announced as part of the Royal Lyceum Theatre’s new season. Rebus novelist Rankin’s play will launch the season as part of a crime double bill, with Maureen…

A Taste of Honey

17 Dec 2012

New production of the Shelagh Delaney’s milestone kitchen sink drama

‘We have a lot to be grateful for in Shelagh Delaney,’ muses Tony Cownie, whose new production of the Salford playwright’s kitchen sink drama A Taste of Honey comes to the Lyceum in January. He’s not wrong. Although Delaney was only 18 years old when…

King Lear

26 Apr 20124 stars

David Hayman heads an impressive ensemble cast in a gripping production of Shakespeare's play

Incredibly, it’s 33 years since David Hayman appeared in a Shakespeare play at the Citz, and his casting here, as the Bard’s aged monarch, raging against the dying of the light, provides a link to that spell in the 1970s-1990s when the Glasgow…

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off

21 Sep 20114 stars

Timely revival of Liz Lochhead's seminal allegorical play

Liz Lochhead’s powerful, playful dissection of a key chapter in Scotland’s history may have debuted at the height of the Thatcherite 80s, but the play’s central themes – the pernicious effects of sectarianism, the Scots’ complex relationship with our…

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off

24 Aug 2011

Lyceum and Dundee Rep co-production of Liz Lochhead's classic

For director Tony Cownie and the cast of the Lyceum and Dundee Rep Ensemble’s new co-production of Liz Lochhead’s 1987 Scots classic, the Edinburgh Festival is over. Already they’ve had Lochhead in to give advice on pronunciations and, in the middle of…

Tony Cownie's production of Liz Lochhead's Educating Agnes bubbles with wit and charm

28 Apr 20114 stars

Peter Forbes, Mark Prendergast and Nicola Roy star

There’s lots to enjoy in this revival of Liz Lochhead’s translation of Moliere’s L’ecole des femmes, but perhaps the greatest pleasure comes from the wit and dynamism offered by the text itself. A palpable sense of anticipation grips the audience as we…

Liz Lochead translation Educating Agnes explores universal themes

24 Mar 2011

Scotland's Makar translates Moliere's The School for Wives into Scots

Following on from the success of Tartuffe in 1985 and Miseryguts (nee The Misanthrope) in 2002, Scotland’s new makar Liz Lochhead will return once more here to translating the work of the 17th century French satirist Moliere into Scots, with the…

New Lyceum production of The Importance of Being Earnest

27 Oct 2010

Production follows on from Romeo and Juliet

The Importance of Being Earnest arrives hot on the heels of the Lyceum’s recent production of Romeo and Juliet, and is employing virtually the same cast and the same set. Director Mark Thomson is excited at the prospect of getting his teeth into Wilde’s…

Romeo and Juliet and The Importance of Being Earnest set for Edinburgh Lyceum

7 Sep 2010

Highlights og autumn theatre season

Two love stories by two playwrights – performed by one cast on one set. In these cash-strapped times, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Royal Lyceum was trying to save a penny or two. In fact, the innovative doubling-up of the first two shows in the…

The Cherry Orchard

29 Apr 20104 stars

What’s immediately striking about John Byrne’s bold new adaptation of Chekhov’s swansong is how sympathetically it translates to its new setting – the north-east of Scotland on the eve of Mrs Thatcher’s first election victory in 1979 – with very little…

The Cherry Orchard

15 Apr 2010

It’s commonplace to see productions of Chekhov concentrate on the business of love and loss that so underpins his great dramas. Yet what is neglected, particularly in British productions, is the urgent sense of social change and economic disaster that…


30 Apr 20093 stars

Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen is that rarest of beasts: a fictionalised account of real-life events, dense in historical research, that manages not to lose sight of the human dilemma at its centre. Springing from a fascinating premise (a meeting between…

Copenhagen: Quantum leap

16 Apr 2009

One of the hallmarks of success in almost any profession is precision. It is this attention to detail that first strikes me about Tom Mannion. Forgetting the tram-inspired chaos of Princes Street, I arrive late at Edinburgh’s Blue Blazer and meet him…

Halloween Special - Mary Rose

16 Oct 2008

It’s often seen as an ill omen if a play of some antiquity is seldom revived. Yet, in the case of JM Barrie’s seldom seen play Mary Rose, this suspicion might not be justified. Certainly, in the year of its release, the play was well received…

Trumpets and Raspberries

24 Apr 20083 stars

FARCE Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 10 May Farce is a form that seems to thrive on dangerous times. From the great war disillusionment and depression that saw Travers and Coward at their peaks, on to the social revolution of the 60s that…

Trumpets and Raspberries

10 Apr 2008

REVIVAL Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 18 Apr–Sat 10 May Even winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature have bad days at work. It might surprise you to know that Dario Fo felt he’d had one of these after the first preview of what, subsequently…

Vanity Fair

27 Mar 20084 stars

ADAPTATION Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 12 Apr Anyone watching the difficulties of our formerly all powerful financial sector over the last few months could not fail to be struck by some echoes in this production at the Lyceum. If you’re…

Sleeping Beauty (King's Theatre, Glasgow)

13 Dec 20075 stars

The pitch It’s time for Princess Beauty to put away childish things, say goodbye to her childhood friend Chester the Jester (aaawwww!) and get ready for some right royal action. Carrion the witch and Norval her son (or is he?) have other ideas, however…

Mrs Warren's Profession

12 Feb 2007

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 16 Feb-Sat 10

CLASSIC Much of what passes for love these days is really about economics. Which of us hasn’t heard a man or woman criticise their loved one’s ‘lack of ambition’ in lieu, in fact, of a shortage of cash. In a society where so much of our emotional…

Tutti Frutti - feature

12 Sep 2006

Cult fiction

Steve Cramer talks to John Byrne about history, our relationship with the past and his new stage adaptation of his cult television hit, Tutti Frutti.