pick of the week

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The Independent Culture
The Red Balloon

Anthony Clark and composer Mark Vibrans turn the screen classic into a wonderous children's musical guaranteed to crack the hardest of adult hearts. National Theatre, London SE1 Tues, Thurs, Fri matinees (0171-928 2252). To 30 Aug

The Decameron

An abundance of grace, narrative intricacy, hilarity and sheer beauty in Nick Ward's production of his own adaptation of Boccaccio's storytelling saga.

Gate Theatre, London W11. (0171-229 5387). To 17 Aug


A strikingly youthful Ian Pepperell proves that there is nothing like a Dane in Karl James and John Retallack's gripping production of Shakespeare's succession shocker.

Rose Theatre, Oxford (01865 798600). To 24 Aug