Critics divided on Orlando Bloom's Broadway debut as Romeo

Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:04pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British actor Orlando Bloom scored mixed reviews on Friday for his Broadway debut in a modern-day, interracial remake of "Romeo and Juliet," William Shakespeare's classic tale of doomed, young lovers.

Bloom, the star of Hollywood blockbusters "Lord of the Rings" and "Pirates of the Caribbean," plays Romeo opposite Tony-nominated stage actress Condola Rashad in the David Leveaux production that opened on Thursday night.

The New York Times praised Bloom for a "first-rate debut" but other critics were less enthusiastic, saying he lacked stage presence.

"For once, we have a Romeo who evolves substantively, from a posturing youth in love with love to a man who discovers the startling revelation of real love, with a last-act descent into bilious, bitter anger that verges on madness," the New York Times said.

The newspaper was equally approving of 26-year-old Rashad's performance, describing it as "incandescent with virginity."

"You see why Romeo, who's been around and packs a knife, would fall hard for a girl who is so palpably untarnished," it added.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that at 36, Bloom should be too old to play Romeo, but it said that his boyish good looks and classical training served him well in the role.

"Looking lean and athletic in a torso-hugging white Henley, ripped jeans and cherry-red Doc Martens, Bloom gives his screen fans plenty to swoon over, including a brief shirtless scene that will set lots of hearts racing," it said.   Continued...

Cast member Orlando Bloom poses during a photocall for the film "Zulu" at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau