Tom Holland's Romeo Charms Crowds, Not Critics

London's latest Romeo and Juliet adaptation stirs mixed reactions

by Zain ul Abedin
Tom Holland's Romeo Charms Crowds, Not Critics
© Euan Cherry/Getty Images

Tom Holland's latest theatrical endeavor as Romeo in London's production of "Romeo and Juliet" has garnered more applause from excited fans than accolades from the critics. The spectacle outside the Duke of York's Theatre, where Holland appears, is described as "unprecedented," with crowds of supporters eager for a glimpse of the Spider-Man star.

This fan fervor, however, contrasts starkly with the lukewarm critical reception inside the theatre. While the Telegraph's five-star review praises Holland for a captivating performance that "ravishes" and "mesmerises," other critiques are less forgiving.

The Daily Express sharply criticized the production, awarding it one star and branding Holland's portrayal as "absolute drivel" and deeming him a "charisma-free zone." Conversely, Time Out and The Guardian offered mild praise, noting that Holland "doesn’t disgrace himself" and delivered "a good performance," respectively.

Juliet Shines, Production Divides

Critics were generally more impressed by Francesca Amewudah-Rivers' portrayal of Juliet. Time Out highlighted her "lightness" as a stark contrast to Holland’s "dour angst," praising her performance as "great." The production's minimalist approach by director Jamie Lloyd received mixed reviews.

It was called "brilliantly unsettling" by Time Out, yet The Times described it as akin to a "colourless radio drama." The reviews reflect a divide in reception, with criticisms focusing on the production's pacing and emotional delivery.

David Benedict of Variety criticized the production for missing "the exuberance of love and youth." At the same time, the Independent’s Tim Bano remarked that Holland’s performance "falls flat," likening his emotional display to a "sad boy in a tight white vest." Despite these critiques, the production's modern and youthful approach may attract a new audience to Shakespeare's work, as noted by Deadline's Baz Bamigboye, who emphasized the importance of engaging young theatergoers with fresh interpretations.

Tom Holland's star power, coupled with the contemporary production style, may indeed keep the seats filled, even if the critical acclaim has yet to match Holland's fanbase's enthusiasm.

Tom Holland