Farinelli and the King
Closed 2h 30m
Farinelli and the King
82

Farinelli and the King NYC Reviews and Tickets

82%
(537 Reviews)
Positive
89%
Mixed
8%
Negative
3%
Members say
Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Entertaining

About the Show

Oscar and three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance returns to Broadway in this new drama about Spain's King Phillippe V's bond with a legendary castrato. 

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Member Reviews (537)

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876 Reviews | 906 Followers
58
Disappointing, Overrated, Indulgent, Banal, Rudderless

See it if Beautiful singing and sets. Candlelit with minimal, hidden lighting. Theater with no lighting hanging from anywhere.

Don't see it if Aimless writing focused on cheap jokes instead of pathos and emotion. Monotonous. Nothing-to-write-home-about acting. Read more

851 Reviews | 1007 Followers
54
Boring, Disappointing, Slow, Passionless, Good set

See it if You enjoy slow stories set in the 18th century or enjoy beautiful operatic singing. The set and costumes were good.

Don't see it if I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters/story. The plot is weak & underdeveloped w/ very little action. One note, flat & passionless

983 Reviews | 229 Followers
70
Confusing, Cliched, Disappointing, Indulgent, Slow

See it if Mark Rylance is one of the more formidable stage actors of our time. He is also a pretty good film actor as well, (Bridges /spies). it wasok

Don't see it if not worth the money, especially with all the great on and off Broadway shows that we have to choose from. This one was boooorrring!!

539 Reviews | 1877 Followers
71
Meh, Slow, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You like historical dramedies. Admittedly I don’t. That said, Rylance was great. I didn’t get invested in the story though.

Don't see it if You need an action packed modern show. This is of the baroque period.

692 Reviews | 152 Followers
81
Absorbing, Ambitious, Disappointing, Banal, Great acting

See it if You're a Rylance fan, curious about Farinelli, like sumptuous sets & costumes beautifully lit by candles, you're not expecting dramatic plot

Don't see it if You don't like Rylance's overboard theatrics, expect an elaborate historical drama, not interested in the castrati and their music

MJK
677 Reviews | 187 Followers
68
Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Disappointing, Superficial

See it if you want to see an insubstantial but heavily stylistic Baroque play, saved by the great Rylance & the ethereal voice of countertenor Davies.

Don't see it if you expect heft, conflict or deep study from a new play about otherwise fascinating historical figures; you chafe at style over substance. Read more

687 Reviews | 114 Followers
80
Great singing, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if The exquisite Iestyn Davies, ravishing production design & an interesting look at the price of fame elevate a 2 star play into a 4 star one

Don't see it if Goes off the rails in 2nd Act; too long, bogus love story & Rylance in high twee mode (a plus for many) but that glorious Davies' voice wins

668 Reviews | 155 Followers
70
Slow, Great singing, Clever, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of Mark Rylance, or an aficionado of early opera, or like plays that shine a light on odd bits of history.

Don't see it if history's trappings -- here the 18th century Spanish court -- do not of their own enthrall you, or you dislike when plays just peter out. Read more

Critic Reviews (56)

The New York Times
December 17th, 2017

"Strangely enchanting...The language of the script doesn’t always flow melodically. But van Kampen has an illuminating appreciation not only for period music but also for the gap between artists and their art...Watching Rylance’s Philippe experience Farinelli’s voice, we hear what he hears. And an actor and a singer temporarily turn a night at the theater in an anxious city into an Eden beyond worldly care, all the more precious for its evanescence."
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Time Out New York
December 17th, 2017

"Davies’s singing provides most of the high notes in this otherwise workmanlike play. The nature of the central musical therapy is barely explored; instead, we get contrived court intrigue, low comedy, a rushed quasiromance, and an equally hasty coda, delivered in a steady march of flat-footed exposition...The pleasures of Dove’s production—the music, Rylance’s halting propulsion, the sumptuous sets and costumes—gleam to no purpose, real jewels glued to a trinket crown."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
December 17th, 2017

"It actually feels like there’s a much more interesting play hiding inside this one...Crane is uniformly fretful throughout. Rylance doesn’t really get much of an arc either...When Rylance isn’t onstage or Davies isn’t singing, it’s serious looking-at-your-watch o’clock...Honestly, even Rylance doesn’t save all his scenes...We in the audience are being asked to have the same experience as the king: Just listen and let it wash over you as a sensory experience."
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The Hollywood Reporter
December 17th, 2017

"If the play is structurally shaky and thematically a tad thin, Dove's exquisite staging yields compensatory rewards...This is a potentially fascinating story...But the drama becomes borderline inert...Once van Kampen has put Philippe and Farinelli together she doesn't really know what to do with them...The deteriorating mental health of a monarch here doesn't constitute a sustaining narrative arc, even if Rylance's commanding performance remains the center of attention."
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Entertainment Weekly
December 18th, 2017

"The elements of 'Farinelli and the King' taken in isolation are fascinating...And yet, somehow 'Farinelli and the King' unfolds as lethargic and two-dimensional, too enamored with its own cleverness and obvious metaphors to provide anything of real emotional weight...Any time Rylance is available on stage to a New York audience, it’s impossible not to recommend you see him. But 'Farinelli and the King' is all dazzle and no depth."
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Variety
December 17th, 2017

"There’s not much to Claire van Kampen’s simplistic script...But with a lead performance by Oscar and Tony winner Mark Rylance in full sail, it’s enough...In the context of the period setting, the anachronistic language is barbarically contemporary...That’s a pity, since director John Dove has taken such pains to re-create the heavily gilded style of the formal Baroque setting of this production."
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The Wall Street Journal
December 21st, 2017

"By all rights it ought not to work at all—yet 'Farinelli' still contrives to cast an odd spell on the viewer, and its best moments have a delicate beauty that will stay with you...Van Kampen’s Farinelli is an inscrutable stick figure, while her Philippe is a walking thesaurus of stage-madness clichés. Nor does her plot have any tension...Thanks to Davies’s singing and Dove’s staging, 'Farinelli' manages to circumvent its dramatic deficiencies and hold your attention—if you love music."
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Deadline
December 17th, 2017

"It’s the best play and the best production of the season so far...Yes, it has a beginner’s nicks – unnecessary use of anachronism, a sometimes heavy-handed symmetry. But in the end, it’s wildly entertaining in the moment, and resonant in the aftermath. It’s not only fun, it’s really about something...And then there’s Rylance...Meticulously off-handed, it’s funny and sad, a performance to be savored in a totally engaging little triumph of a show."
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