|ROMEO AND JULIET|
He may be 36, but in looks Orlando Bloom is an inspired choice to play Romeo. His youthful appearance, soft features and adorably floppy hair still scream teen heartthrob, even 12 years after he shot to fame in the Lord of the Rings franchise. But his performance is anything but inspired, and itís one of many missteps that sink David Leveauxís largely passionless version of Shakespeareís iconic love tragedy.
This racially divided revival, the first on Broadway in more than 25 years, strains to be cutting-edge. The cast is clad in contemporary attire, fight scenes are hyper-choreographed, and Romeo makes his entrance astride a motorcycle. While trying to highlight the violence that pervades Verona, Leveaux punches up the humor at every opportunity, leaving much of this production hollow at the core. Not a choice way to present a great love story about two teenagers torn apart by their warring families.
A few bright spots, largely female, emerge. Rising talent Condola Rashad makes Juliet a sly, luminescent creature, bursting with the bounty of love one minute, undone by it the next. Itís a shame she has more chemistry with the always strong Jayne Houdyshell, as Julietís chummy nurse, than with Bloom. Houdyshell, meanwhile, is a terrific contrast to Roslyn Ruffís cold Lady Capulet, Julietís mother.
As for the men, Bloomís Romeo never appears lit from within by Julietís love (let alone someone who would die for the loss of it), but he does appear shirtless in one scene, so there are some pleasures to be had. Not, however, from the usually impressive Christian Camargo, who turns Mercutio into such a sniveling twit that itís a relief when he finally dies.
The oddest of the lot is Brent Carverís skittish, flaky Friar Laurence, who gives Juliet the potion that brings about the grim denouement. He seems quite the drug expert/addict. (Just what goes on in that church basement?) Iím not sure what play heís in, but I found myself longing to join him there.
By Diane Snyder
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Orlando Bloom, Condola Rashad, Jayne Houdyshell, Brent Carver, Chuck Cooper, Christian Carmago, Justin Guarini, Roslyn Ruff, Conrad Kemp, Corey Hawkins, Geoffrey Owens
Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 8/24/2013
Richard Rodgers Theatre
226 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036