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The Independent Culture
Rainer Hersch 27 & 28 Dec

Purcell Room, London SE1

Rainer Hersch, who has been called "the world's first classical music hooligan", is a bit of a one-off. Classical music does not obviously lend itself to comedy - but that only makes Hersch's act all the more impressive. One critic called him "the musical equivalent of Oscar Wilde - debonair, witty, with flashes of ruthlessness".

Hersch brings these qualities to bear in this amusing examination of the inner workings of an orchestra. Often compared with Victor Borge, he has presented his own series on Radio 3, Rainer Hersch's Twentieth Century Retrospective, and is a team captain on BBC1's The Entertainment Game. He summarises the live show thus: "symphonies, concertos and those bits you never know the name of - all ruined before your eyes."

More unusual fare is provided by Boom Chicago, a American theatre/improv troupe based in Amsterdam. They make their London debut with 2000 Years Down the Drain: from Jesus Christ to Jerry Springer.

Finally, the industrious Craig Charles brings down the curtain on a tour that has lasted the best part of a year. The motormouth scores with brave material about his time on remand in prison.

Rainer Hersch, Purcell Room, London, SE1 (0171-960 4242) 27 & 28 Dec; Boom Chicago, Jermyn St Theatre, London, SW1 (0171-287 2875) tonight and tomorrow; Craig Charles, Talk of London (0171-413 1777) tomorrow & Mon