The Independent Recommends: Theatre

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The Independent Culture
THE PAIRING of two short Sixties farces, Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound and Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy, has proved an artistic and commercial triumph for Warehouse Productions, the company set up by Sam Mendes to bring more challenging fare into the West End. Hound, a spoof thriller that embroils two theatre critics in its corny schemata, paves the way perfectly for the cerebral in-the-dark buffoonery of Black Comedy.

Comedy Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1 (0171-369 1731) 7.30pm

Paul Taylor described Laurence Boswell's production of Bartholomew Fair (right) as "the most brilliantly entertaining breach of the peace the RSC has served up in a long time", and most critics agreed. Ben Jonson's sprawling Jacobean comedy is set in the notorious fair that took place in Smithfield on St Bartholomew's Day, but Boswell has imposed a riotous Notting Hill carnival feel to it. It may seem like it lasts as long, but bustling performances all round allow you to join in the double-dealing, anti-puritanical fun.

RSC Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (01789 295623) 7.30pm