Two actors, both alike in dignity,
On fair Broadway where we lay our scene.

Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom
Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom posing for promotional photographs for Romeo and Juliet.

We could go on but it appears Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet has already been murdered in David Leveaux's production at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Or so theatre critics would have us believe of Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad's take on one of Shakespeare's best loved plays. 

To summarise what most of the critics think of the hoody wearing cast and this production: Bloom is simply too old; too comic; and the racial politics too obvious. Bloom stars as the eponymous hero, with Rashad playing his Juliet. Bloom, at 36, is not believably as the dashing young hero who is only slightly more experienced in love than his virgin bride. He's pretty but inappropriate.

Rashad's performance has fared better with the critics, who commented favourably on her "breathless" and girlish Juliet. Separately their performances have their own flaws and merits, but together they are something of a disappointment. Tom Wicker, of the Daily Telegraph, claims the couple lack passion with only one onstage kiss which hardly denotes the longing and consuming first love Shakespeare's couple are synonymous with. 

Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad
Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad on stage as Romeo and Juliet.

Meanwhile, comedy has smothered the tragedy as USA Today's critic states even Mercutio's death is executed with humour. The sexual innuendos, usually carried off with a strategically placed metaphor by Shakespeare, are overdone. This includes a humping pile of men, Romeo's chums naturally; a good deal of thrusting; and implications of a flaccid penis via use of a deflated balloon. 

This is not the only adaptation of Romeo and Juliet coming out in the next few weeks. The latest film adaptation of the famous play, starring Hailee Steinfield and Douglas Booth, is due to be released in the UK and US on 11 October. Contrary to the Broadway adaptation currently showing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the upcoming film keeps the setting firmly in the 16th century. 

Watch the movie trailer for Romeo and Juliet:

See Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad in Romeo and Juliet at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, New York, until 12 January. 

Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom
The two actors 'in costume' at the Romeo and Juliet photocall.