I have a use case where the network between browser and webserver is very bad. Extremely high latency, regular packet loss and low bandwidth on the last mile. (even irregular electricity on the clients’ side!)
In this scenario a theme that is very lightweight in terms of real network transfer is a giant boost (below 14K is a common benchmark, although not set in stone). Extensive compressed content-encoding (gzip/brotli) helps, but the most important factor is the theme.
Another golden rule is to minimize the number of request-response cycles, thus in-lining JS/CSS/font, especially for the first page render.
It goes without saying that the graphical and JS polish are very low in priority and a degradation on that front is part of the trade-off.
None of the themes I have access to comes even close. Is there such a a theme somewher? Would there be interest to develop one?