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

Farinelli and the King NYC Reviews and Tickets

(540 Ratings)
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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Show-Score Member Reviews (540)

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48 Reviews | 16 Followers
Slow, Insipid, Great acting, Disappointing, Dated

See it if if you're a Mark Rylance fan but this was play was not ready to be on Broadway.

Don't see it if you're looking for fully realized play, the movie on stage or a musical.

Also I loved the indie film of Farinelli and was so looking forward to this play but was so disappointed in how bad it was. While Mark Rylance gave a fantastic performance as always, Farinelli and the King was not ready for prime time and needed a lot of rewrites. I felt that when the playwright ran out of ideas or didn't know how to transition to another scene, she would fly Farinelli in to sing an aria. And when the characters suddenly broke the 4th wall in the 2nd act, it was definitely play over. I couldn't wait to leave.

114 Reviews | 14 Followers
Great acting, Funny, Ambitious, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You love seeing mark rylance

Don't see it if you don't like decedent theatre

64 Reviews | 5 Followers
Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if Historical plays, music, great staging and costumes

Don't see it if Sexual themes

6 Reviews | 2 Followers
Great acting, Refreshing, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy a more Shakespearean approach to staging and a captivating story

Don't see it if you prefer all of the performers to do both the singing and the acting

83 Reviews | 10 Followers
Funny, Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting

See it if You enjoy historical dramas. Mark Rylance was incredible.

Don't see it if You dislike opera music.

12 Reviews | 3 Followers
Clever, Hilarious, Must see, Indulgent, Absorbing

See it if History at its best

Don't see it if If You get bored easily

13 Reviews | 1 Follower
Refreshing, Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to see something entirely new and unusual.

Don't see it if You do not like opera and have poor eyesight as the lighting is almost exclusively by candles

66 Reviews | 4 Followers
Intelligent, Great acting, Exquisite, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You like period piece plays. Enjoy master class acting.

Don't see it if You don't like period piece plays.

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 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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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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New York Daily News
December 17th, 2017

"Claire van Kampen’s fact-based but liberally embroidered drama isn’t so sensational...Still, the drama at the Belasco is a richly theatrical reminder of what art can do...Rylance is riveting as the bedeviled ruler, but his star turn still raised mixed feelings. At times he is deliciously daft and spontaneous, but he's also occasionally too stagy and calculating to ring true...The play’s poky first half meanders, but it gains momentum after the intermission."
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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 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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