Friday , July 12 2024

Romeo & Juliet fans declare Tom Holland is a ‘superb casting’ and praise his ‘palpable chemistry’ with ‘fantastic’ co-star Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as modernised West End production finally opens after ‘technical issues’

After being delayed due to technical issues, Romeo & Juliet finally opened in the West End on Monday, with the first attendees at the Duke of York Theatre giving their initial reviews.

The latest production of the Shakespeare tragedy is being helmed by award-winning director Jamie Lloyd and stars Hollywood actor Tom Holland as Romeo.

The opening night of previews was originally scheduled for Saturday, but the show was cancelled due to ‘technical aspects of the production needing further preparation.’

Despite the brief delay, the play has now been showered in praise by attendees, who singled out Tom, 27, and Juliet actress, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as ‘amazing’ and a ‘superb casting’.

Spilling the beans about what audiences can expect, many teased that the production was ‘violent’ and ‘creative’ with ‘unexpected humour’ and ‘lots of kissing’.

After being delayed due to technical issues, Romeo & Juliet finally opened in the West End on Monday, with the first attendees giving their initial reviews and star Tom Holland sharing a cast photo to his Instagram to mark the occasion

After being delayed due to technical issues, Romeo & Juliet finally opened in the West End on Monday, with the first attendees giving their initial reviews and star Tom Holland sharing a cast photo to his Instagram to mark the occasion

The latest production of the Shakespeare tragedy is being helmed by award-winning director Jamie Lloyd and stars Hollywood actor Tom Holland as Romeo

The latest production of the Shakespeare tragedy is being helmed by award-winning director Jamie Lloyd and stars Hollywood actor Tom Holland as Romeo

Despite the brief delay, the play has now been showered in praise by attendees, who singled out Tom, 27, and Juliet actress, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as 'amazing' and superb casting'

Despite the brief delay, the play has now been showered in praise by attendees, who singled out Tom, 27, and Juliet actress, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as ‘amazing’ and superb casting’ 

Taking to social media, including X, TikTok and Tumblr, fans also lauded the ‘palpable chemistry’ between the leads and declared that Tom’s big return to the stage ‘proves his acting chops’.

They shared: ‘romeo + juliet thoughts so far: the cast is killing it. the production is INSANE I’ve never seen anything like it. it is a nondescript modern telling with original shakespearean script. lots of laughs and lots of kissing. tom holland and francesca amewudah-rivers are unbelievable’.

’10+ years later and I’m still in awe at what @JamieLloydCo treats us to! Absolutely adored @RomeoJulietLDN & I can’t wait to see it again! ❤️’

‘tom holland is truly such a talented and gifted actor & artist. i have no words after seeing romeo & juliet; Rumors of Tom Holland being amazing in Romeo & Juliet…CONFIRMED ✅’.

‘Francesca was amazing! Nailed every line, loved her!; ‘It was brilliant! The cast were amazing, tense performance and the story tells it in such a unique way. No props, no buildings. Just acting!’

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Opening night of previews for Romeo and Juliet. Wow. Jamie Lloyd has done it again. Superb casting throughout with Tom Holland proving his acting chops.’

‘opening night. what a beautiful experience that was. i’m still processing that. this cast is incredible. the acting was just….. breathtaking.’ 

‘The entire cast is hilarious, the comedy is laced throughout and everyone had a laugh out loud moment. A lot of kissing. No real set pieces in this play, just using the empty stage, mic stands and projector screen. Creative use of the camera throughout.’ 

Fans teased that the production full of 'unexpected humour' and 'lots of kissing', while also lauding the 'palpable chemistry' between the leads and declaring Tom's big return to the stage 'proves his acting chops'

Fans teased that the production full of ‘unexpected humour’ and ‘lots of kissing’, while also lauding the ‘palpable chemistry’ between the leads and declaring Tom’s big return to the stage ‘proves his acting chops’ 

‘romeo + juliet thoughts so far – tom holland is killing the quiet serious moments w/ unexpected humor, as well. the production is violent & scary, TW for violence, loud, dark. francesca’s portrayal of juliet is fresh and believable. the romance and chemistry is palpable.’

However, there was some criticism towards Jamie’s signature stripped-back staging of the play, with several attendees branding it ‘underwhelming’.

Photos shared online of the set show a modern and industrial style, with a large iron fence and block letters spelling out Verona, where the play is set, while the cast sported casual outfits, like black hoodies and T-shirts.

Some audience members wrote: ‘the cast of romeo & juliet were absolutely incredible tbh but the staging and production were underwhelming and a bit messy’.

‘It’s like a radio play. Very little staging. Use of video technology which isn’t well thought through. FRANCESCA AMEWUDAH-RIVERS is fantastic. Tom Holland less so.’

‘one of my favourite plays but there were definitely some moments with camera work that i didn’t like but also may be a personal preference than anything else! just wish they pushed it a bit more. cast were fantastic tho’.

‘I think the first half was definitely the stronger half for me personally. The second half was the weaker part for me. There were a few monologues in the Capulet side which kinda lost me slightly – it might have been just because there was no movement on stage for a good 5 minutes, purely just the actors reciting the dialogue.’

Snaps and videos taken at the curtain call showed an emotional Tom and Francesca hugging before being joined by the rest of the cast for a bow. 

However, there was some criticism towards Jamie's signature stripped-back staging of the play, with several attendees branding it 'underwhelming'

However, there was some criticism towards Jamie’s signature stripped-back staging of the play, with several attendees branding it ‘underwhelming’

Photos shared online of the set show a modern and industrial style, with a large iron fence and block letters spelling out Verona, where the play is set, while the cast sported casual outfits, like black hoodies and T-shirts

Photos shared online of the set show a modern and industrial style, with a large iron fence and block letters spelling out Verona, where the play is set, while the cast sported casual outfits, like black hoodies and T-shirts

The play also stars Freema Agyeman (Nurse), Michael Balogun (Friar), Tomiwa Edun (Capulet), Mia Jerome (Montague), Daniel Quinn-Toye (Paris), Ray Sesay (Tybalt), Nima Taleghani (Benvolio), Joshua-Alexander Williams (Mercutio), and Callum Heinrich and Kody Mortimer (Camera Operators)

The play also stars Freema Agyeman (Nurse), Michael Balogun (Friar), Tomiwa Edun (Capulet), Mia Jerome (Montague), Daniel Quinn-Toye (Paris), Ray Sesay (Tybalt), Nima Taleghani (Benvolio), Joshua-Alexander Williams (Mercutio), and Callum Heinrich and Kody Mortimer (Camera Operators) 

The play also stars Freema Agyeman (Nurse), Michael Balogun (Friar), Tomiwa Edun (Capulet), Mia Jerome (Montague), Daniel Quinn-Toye (Paris), Ray Sesay (Tybalt), Nima Taleghani (Benvolio), Joshua-Alexander Williams (Mercutio), and Callum Heinrich and Kody Mortimer (Camera Operators).

They then made their way to the balcony of the Duke of York’s Theatre to wave at the huge crowds outside, who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the Spider-Man star.

His starring role is his first return to the stage after his West End debut in 2008, when he played the lead role in Billy Elliot the Musical at 12 years old.

Speaking about Tom’s casting, director Jamie, 43, said: ‘Tom Holland is one of the greatest, most exciting young actors in the world. It is an honour to welcome him back to the West End.

Tom took to his Instagram following the show to pay tribute to his co-stars and confess that the play was ‘a highlight of my career’.

Sharing a photo with the cast, he wrote: ‘Tonight was the start of something so special. I’m beyond proud of our cast and crew who have gone above and beyond in every way.

‘I can’t wait for the rest of the run. Tonight was truly a highlight of my career and I’m so glad I get to share it with these incredible people. Love you all and see you tomorrow!’ 

While Tom’s mother, Nikki, took to her Instagram Stories to post a sweet tribute to her son, sharing a photo of him as Romeo next to a throwback shot of him on stage as Billy Elliot.

Snaps and videos taken at the curtain call showed an emotional Tom and Francesca hugging before being joined by the rest of the cast for a bow

Snaps and videos taken at the curtain call showed an emotional Tom and Francesca hugging before being joined by the rest of the cast for a bow

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Tom took to his Instagram following the show to pay tribute to his co-stars and confess that the play was 'a highlight of my career'.

Tom took to his Instagram following the show to pay tribute to his co-stars and confess that the play was ‘a highlight of my career’.

While Tom's mother, Nikki, took to her Instagram Stories to post a sweet tribute to her son, sharing a photo of him as Romeo next to a throwback shot of him on stage as Billy Elliot

While Tom’s mother, Nikki, took to her Instagram Stories to post a sweet tribute to her son, sharing a photo of him as Romeo next to a throwback shot of him on stage as Billy Elliot

The production is set to run for 12 weeks until August 3, before it will reportedly transfer to Broadway later this year. 

And it has already garnered a great deal of excitement, with tickets selling out just two hours after going on sale in February, with fans comparing the stress as on par with trying to get their hands on tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.

However, the lead up to the play has been marred by the ‘barrage of deplorable racial abuse’ it received, following the diverse casting being announced.

Francesca, in particular, found herself targeted by vile racists, causing the theatre company to issue a strongly worded statement, vowing to ‘continue to support and protect everyone in our company.’

The Jamie Lloyd Company shared: ‘Following the announcement of our Romeo & Juliet cast, there has been a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company. This must stop.

‘We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment.

‘We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs. Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported.’ 

It continued: ‘Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities.

‘Our rehearsal room is full of joy, compassion and kindness. We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators. 

‘The Romeo & Juliet community will continue to rehearse with generosity and love, and focus on the creation of our production.’

However, the lead up to the play has been marred by the 'barrage of deplorable racial abuse' it received, following the diverse casting being announced, with Francesca, in particular, being targeted (pictured)

However, the lead up to the play has been marred by the ‘barrage of deplorable racial abuse’ it received, following the diverse casting being announced, with Francesca, in particular, being targeted (pictured)

This caused the theatre company to issue a strongly worded statement, vowing to 'continue to support and protect everyone in our company'

This caused the theatre company to issue a strongly worded statement, vowing to ‘continue to support and protect everyone in our company’

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