Already closed | 2h 30m | Midtown W

Farinelli and the King

From 536 member  reviews
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.  More…

'Farinelli and the King' is inspired by the fascinating true story of Philippe V (Rylance), a Spanish monarch on the brink of madness who finds unexpected solace in the voice of world-renowned castrato, Farinelli. Soon, Farinelli and the King forge a powerful connection, and the celebrated singer must make a difficult choice: return to throngs of adoring fans or perform forever for an audience of one. Like Broadway’s 'Twelfth Night' and 'Richard III,' this contemporary work is presented in the signature style of Shakespeare’s Globe – traditional baroque instruments are performed live in a gallery above the stage; the audience enjoys intimate seating with several rows onstage; and the story is told by candlelight. 'Farinelli and the King' comes to Broadway following sold-out runs at Shakespeare’s Globe and on London’s West End.

2h 30m | Already closed | Belasco Theatre (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (536)


Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Entertaining
Avg Score

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.

Also What a disappointment! I'm a fan of the movie and the real story has s... Read more Read less

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

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!!

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.

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.

Also There's much to admire about this production, but the play's not the t... Read more Read less

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

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.

Also I thought the play began with some promise, but melted in the 2nd act,... Read more Read less

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


See it if you appreciate the fine arts and baroque music. MARK RYLANCE is an acting god. See it for him alone, stay for the opera.

Don't see it if you can't step out of you comfort zone. Stay home if you fidget through opera. Spare us all and watch your cable.

See mark rylance, one of the planet's best actors, in an interesting tale about how music soothes a mad king

See it if Rylance's (usual) extraordinary performance as philosophical paranoiac, gorgeous countertenor singing, clever poetic script

Don't see it if script lacking drama, Rylance's mad king has no effective foil to play off of; superfluous ending

Great acting, Great staging, Shallow, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if You want to see another command performance by Mark Ryalnce in an atmospheric setting.

Don't see it if You want a deep view of Philippe V & Farinelli: there's not much beyond depressed & castrato respectively.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if I love this time period and the music and singing is GREAT. Parts are funny

Don't see it if If you cannot handle opea singing

Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Clever, Great costumes

See it if you enjoy period costume dramas, “high art,” or high-brow drama. This is an intelligent work, but not without laughs. Rylance is endearing.

Don't see it if fart jokes are more your speed. :) (Then again, I like a good fart joke.)

Enchanting, Great acting, Overrated, Romantic, Funny

See it if You enjoy works of historical fiction, especially those that involve classical music (eg, Amadeus). Or if you’re a Mark Rylance fan.

Don't see it if You dislike frilly British plays, or expect Mark Rylance to give a tour-de-force performance. He’s great, but he’s had better roles.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy an unusual plot with great acting, staging and singing. It's based on a true story with some poetic license taken.

Don't see it if you do not like baroque music or countertenors. There is a small baroque orchestra on top of the set and wonderful singing by a countertenor

Also Great staging, acting and singing but this show is not for everyone. I... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Enchanting, Funny and sad

See it if You enjoy historical drama, great opera, Mark Rylance, magical settings, Mark Rylance, Handel, elegance, castratos,arias,romance,confict....

Don't see it if You dislike historical drama, expect a fast paced show, and do not like dimly lit stage sets. You have never heard of Mark Rylance.

Also Farinelli sang for only one person, the mad King of Spain, Philippe V.... Read more Read less

Mark rylance! mark rylance! mark rylance!

See it if You love good acting and engaging theatre. Mark Rylance is amazing as always!

Don't see it if You hate period dramas.

Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if Mark Rylance is superb as King Philippe. Counter tenor arias are enchanting. Illuminating information about little known history.

Don't see it if You hate operatic singing.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you have 2 brain cells to rub together.I NEVER give shows 100,but this is a must see.Rylance is brilliant,play well written,staging is great

Don't see it if you are looking forward to Sponge Bob.This show is very funny, also very touching, and so brilliantly done. It really is a gem. Go see it!

Visually attractive, Escapist, Ambiguous tone—tragicomedy?, Unique

See it if you want a luxurious period mise en scène punctuated w/ operatic singing & don’t mind that it accompanies a so-so play

Don't see it if you desire a strong script, developed characters, clear and convincing motives

Also The serious looking posters do the show a disservice by setting the wr... Read more Read less

Clever, Enchanting, Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if you want to see an exceptional performance by Mark Rylance, you enjoy clever character-driven plays with enough humor and intrigue.

Don't see it if you want to see something more dramatic instead of a character study. If you don’t like period pieces or two actors playing one character.

An 'off' night for rylance underlined the far more engrossing history than this thin fiction, Second outing, rylance much improved. the play remains thin.

See it if Davies voice weaves into the music while Hall's voice sails above and is separate. love Farinelli, empathize with Isabela. But its the music

Don't see it if You are looking for revelation. This remains a small intimate play told in a small intimate way with great talent. The flash is all in word

Also NB: I dont know if there are any of the $32 seats left down front, but... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if you love Mark Rylance, who never disappoints

Don't see it if period pieces with opera singing is not your cup of tea

Entertaining, Great staging, Funny

See it if You like period pieces and enjoy historically based shows. If you like stories about royalty or mental desorders.

Don't see it if You prefer modern stories, do not oarticukarly care about riyal history or are offended by the presentatikn of mental disorders.

Great acting, Enchanting, Great singing

See it if you want to see another wonderful performance by Mark Rylance and to experience the witty dialogue and enchanting sets.

Don't see it if you expect a tight plot, interesting conflict or meaningful character development.

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 a...
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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 ex...
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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 d...
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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...
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