Madhav Sharma was enthralled by Shakespeare from a young age and decided to become an actor on the English stage. It was a distant dream which few could imagine would ever come true. But sheer perseverance and some fortuitous breaks brought the lad from Bharat to Blighty where he performed in the Bard of Avon’s immortal plays.
For over half a century Sharma has worked hard to establish a reputation in British theatre, radio, film and television. His work has encompassed the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Peter Hall Company, London’s West End and regional theatre. On 27 November 2014 he appeared at the Nehru Centre, London and performed a one-man tour de force which brilliantly welded his life to Bharat, Britain and the Bard.
The philosopher Radhakrishnan, who became President of India, proclaimed that Britain had bestowed on India three great boons: the Authorized Version of the King James’s Bible, Shakespeare, and the Limited Liability Company. Sharma concentrated on Shakespeare. The poet’s voice speaks for all mankind, whether of war or wooing, of law or love, of marriage or madness. Sharma’s superb acting and recitations from the bard’s most memorable lines revealed how Shakespeare offered a brave new world to an Indian boy in search of not only a career but a place of his own in a troubled world.
The evening celebrated the eternal relevance and joy of Stratford-upon-Avon’s favourite son for all people, for all time. The Sharma Show has been staged in India. It must now also be staged in British universities and—why not?—in London’s West End. The production is directed by Miranda Lapworth. The consultant is Kevin Fitzmaurice of the RSC and the costume advisor is Sabine Lemaitre.