Like any Shakespeare adaptation, this one has proved divisive.
Orlando Bloom might make for one stunning Romeo (especially for all those Legolas fangirls and boys out there), but the critics are less than pleased with the Broadway adaptation of the Shakespearean classic overall.
Where some see Bloom and Rashad's performances as shallow...
The David Leveaux production got no love from the New York Daily News, which panned the director for lavishing “lots of attention on visuals, gimmicks and effects — the defining one here is a helium balloon that starts full and gradually shrivels.” Ouch. Bloom’s performance was also panned for lacking the depth needed to portray the character, though anyone familiar with the source material would know that the original Romeo (presumed to be a teenager) isn’t a quite a bottomless well of emotional depth either. As for his younger co-star, Condola Rashad, she is also not a favorite. Besides a few scenes which get praise, the News deem that “she struggles with the language and often comes off muddled.” That’s a lukewarm review at best.
Others have deemed them great interpretations.
But the play, surprisingly, is hailed by The Telegraph, for being exactly the right amount of modernized. Here, Leveaux’s production (aside from Romeo’s very loud, largely unnecessary motorcycle entrance) is hailed for being innovative. The two stars are also seen as delightfully naïve, rather than amateurish.
On the whole, it’s obvious that no Shakespearean adaptation will ever be able to please fully. But even with lukewarm reviews, the high production values, coupled with the promise of a shirtless Orlando Bloom, should be enough to fill the theatre for the duration of Romeo and Juliet’s run.
This play's fate is now in the hands of theatergoers.