The Independent Recommends: Theatre

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The Independent Culture
THE NATIONAL THEATRE of Brent has come close to playing the West End on a number of occasions, but it is only now, after 18 years, that Patrick Barlow's comic institution stands to receive the mass adoration it deserves. No prizes for guessing why - Love Upon the Throne (right) finds artistic director Desmond Olivier Dingle and sidekick Raymond tackling the Charles and Diana story with inimitably pompous enthusiasm. Don't let the tourists bag the best seats.

Comedy Theatre, London SW1 (0171-369 1731) 8pm

Shelagh Stephenson's An Experiment with an Air-Pump, which shuttles between 1799 and 1999 in an energetic cross-examination of scientific inquiry, has its flaws and its character defects, but Stephenson's evident relish for tackling big ideas is infectious. The run of this well-acted Manchester Royal Exchange production comes to an end on Saturday.

Hampstead Theatre, London NW3 (0171-722 9301) 8pm