By MICHAEL CAINES
Ben Jonson is mentioned only twice in Daniel Rosenthal's "definitive" history of the National Theatre, according to the book's index: once as the author of Volpone, staged at the NT in 1997; and once more as the author of Bartholomew Fair, a "panoramic snapshot of 1630s London at play". (That second mention is particularly impressive, given that Bartholomew Fair was first performed in 1614.)
In an appendix, however, Lyn Haill handily lists every NT production up to 2013; and Jonson's name appears more often there. How often exactly? Well, six times, by my (admittedly rather hasty) count. That's three Volpones, two Alchemists and one Bartholomew Fair. Guess how many NT productions of Shakespeare there have been over that same period – and if hastily compiled statistics are your thing, read on for the answer . . .