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

Farinelli and the King NYC Reviews and Tickets

(537 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. 

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Member Reviews (537)

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1085 Reviews | 265 Followers
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!!

913 Reviews | 929 Followers
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

897 Reviews | 1026 Followers
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

547 Reviews | 1881 Followers
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.

716 Reviews | 157 Followers
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

715 Reviews | 108 Followers
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 Read more

657 Reviews | 288 Followers
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

669 Reviews | 131 Followers
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

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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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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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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