BWW Interviews: Madhav Sharma of RSC's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Madhav Sharma is not short of an opinion or two.
"I personally love the way Americans do Shakespeare," he announces. "I think the English are better at Chekhov. With Shakespeare, Americans understand that it's all on the line."
That's how he's perceiving the forthcoming RSC's version of Much Ado About Nothing, starring Meera Syal, and in which he's appearing as Leonto.
"We don't impose anything on the text - we're looking for the emotional truth," he says. "I hate people saying this is an 'Indian' production – it's just about a Punjabi family in contemporary Delhi and their individual, specific situation."
He understands, though, that might be difficult for audiences to grasp at first. "Audiences might think we're being PC or something, but by the interval they'll forget and start concentrating on what the play is about."
He's enjoying the opportunity of working with the RSC regardless. "It's the fulfilment of a life's ambition," he admits. "But I did have my doubts about doing this production with an all-Indian cast. I didn't want ethnicity to take over from the text. I didn't want to be doing a Peter Sellers Indian accent.
"Then our director [Iqbal Khan] explained why – it's to localise it, it's not about India, it's one story among many. I'm a bit bored of the average British ideas about India and all the cliches. All that is not what the play is about."
Regardless, he's excited about people's reactions to the play. "I hope people will like it," he says. "I think it's either going to be revelatory or a car crash!"
Much Ado About Nothing runs in Stratford from July 26, and transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre from September 22.