Ross Muir is relishing the prospect of his 11th season with Rainbow Shakespeare in Worthing’s Highdown Gardens.
He will be picking up where he left off last year in a double bill opposite Alexandra Parker with whom he appeared in The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year Ross Muir is the fiery Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and the caddish Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona – opposite Alexandra Parker, who made such an impact last year with her Titania and Portia. This year, Alexandra will be the Shrew as well as the love-torn Julia. The Taming of the Shrew runs from July 3-8; then comes what director Nick Young calls Shakespeare’s version of a rom-com, The Two Gentlemen of Verona from July 10-15.
Ross will be in his element: “I just love the way that Nick works. We have always had a great understanding, and I love the gardens there. They are just beautiful. It just creates a magic there which is very different to being inside. You are in the trees and the bushes and you can see the stars. It just relates so well to Shakespeare who talks so much about the cycles of nature and about man’s connection with nature.
“I think it does lend itself to the comedies perhaps more than the tragedies, but funnily enough this year, like last year, we are breaking a bit of a trend. We usually do one serious one and one light-hearted one, but we are doing two comedies again this year.
“I have never done Two Gentlemen before. It is really fresh for Nick and for me and for the rest of the cast. I felt that we needed to do one that we hadn’t done before. We keep coming back to the same ones. The Taming of the Shrew will be my third time doing the play, though I have not done this role before. But it is always good to do something different.
“Two Gentlemen does not get done so often. I am not sure why not. It is a such a wonderful piece, one of his earlier ones. It is perhaps lesser known. It is maybe less popular than others like As You Like It and Much Ado and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but it has definitely got its merits and is worth seeing.
“What is interesting is when you look at the relationship between Proteus and Valentine. They are very close friends, but it does not matter how close you are in friendship if love or infatuation gets in the way, then everything goes out of the window. I am playing Proteus and he is a bit of a naughty boy.
“I have already declared my love for Julia and we have got a relationship going, but when I meet Valentine’s girlfriend, I become completely infatuated with her and forget all about Julia and oust my friend in order to win and court Sylvia!”
As for The Taming of the Shrew: “It can be a bit tricky in how modern society looks at it, but all I would say is that it is a comedy and that it is of its time. I think that the two central characters are both non-conformists in a way. What would they do if they didn’t meet each other? Petruchio has to get married because he needs the money. I think there is an instant attraction between the two of them.”
Tickets from Worthing Theatres or at the gate.