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)

MEMBERS SAY:

Great acting, Great singing, Absorbing, Great staging, Entertaining

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.

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

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

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.

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

67
Disappointing, Soporific, Great acting, Great staging

See it if Mark Rylance is a must see for you, or if you are curious about castrati and Baroque music. Beautifully done by our British cousins.

Don't see it if You need strong drama to keep your attention, or if you've already overdosed on madness in the monarchy. (I fell asleep.)

65
Indulgent, Overrated, Slow, Disappointing

See it if Love Mark Rylance. An okay play, nicely staged. interesting subject.

Don't see it if Find Mark Rylance too self-obsessed. Play is weak with not much going on. Seems to be more a vehicle for the star.

68
Great singing, Great staging, Funny, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you like period pieces infused with modern jokes, want to see why Rylance is a master of his craft, or enjoy countertenor style singing

Don't see it if you are expecting an accurate historical representation and don't appreciate anachronism

Also I expected a historical drama--I didn't expect it to be infused with m... Read more Read less

66
Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Great singing, Slow

See it if you want to see some great acting by Mark Rylance and some beautiful singing by Iestyn Davies.

Don't see it if you want a more exciting narrative; the story here is somewhat basic and the plotting is a bit slow.

51
Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Quirky, Banal

See it if You want to see a man on the stage who talks nonsense and screams. Dullsville.

Don't see it if You sit rear orchestra. Lots of street noise as theater is on heavily traveled street.

50
Disappointing, Indulgent, Overrated, Banal

See it if If your not already bored with Mark Rylance giving the same performance he always gives with no inner life. Same old gimmicks and tricks.

Don't see it if Warn to care about any of the characters.

55
Ambitious, Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated

See it if you really, really want to see Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if you want compelling characters or have strong feelings (either way) about opera.

Also There just wasn't anything for me to really buy into here as an audien... Read more Read less

50
Great singing, Slow, Overrated, Disappointing, Lugubrious

See it if you really enjoy “early music,” worship Mark Rylance (no matter the material), or appreciate counter-tenor arias.

Don't see it if you are expecting a story to sink your teeth into. This is moreso a “situation” that gets stretched-out for 2.5-hours.

68
Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if Mark Rylance's over-the-top histrionics please you. If you like the sound of a beautiful counter-tenor.

Don't see it if Boring history shows make you snooze.

60
Great acting, Great singing, Disappointing, Quirky, Overrated

See it if You like seeing Mark Rylancd and plays that feel like Shakespeare without actually being shakespeare

Don't see it if You don’t care about music or opera. You don’t like plays with little actual point to them

65
Disappointing, Thin. forced. lovely singing and set.

See it if You're a Mark Rylance fan. You're interested in Baroque music and a little known piece of history.

Don't see it if You want a play with passion and surprise and a deep portrayal of the healing power of music.

Also I am a big Mark Rylance fan, so I was excited to see this. I'm sad to ... Read more Read less

60
Disappointing, Ambitious, Overrated

See it if You like overly indulgent plays with some clever writing but a fairly long and boring storyline

Don't see it if You can get tickets to something more interesting!

64
Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious, Quirky, Dizzying

See it if You are into music and can follow a convoluted plot - supposedly based on real events

Don't see it if Want a straightforward play or musical

60
Lovely music, Exquisite set, Very weak script, Disappointing

See it if you can enjoy a play that is nothing more than some beautiful, well-song arias in a well-crafted atmosphere with a few cute moments

Don't see it if you require a sensible plot, emotion, interesting and understandable characters, and acting that is more than humdrum--disappointing Rylance

69
Disappointing, Great singing, Great staging, Overrated, Slow

See it if You admire Mark Rylance; though this is not the best use of his talent.

Don't see it if You dislike Mark Rylance.

68
Slow, Great singing, Exquisite design elements, Disappointing

See it if You have interest in countertenor singers, the history of castrati, Handel music. Impeccable 18th Century setting, wigs and costumes

Don't see it if Uninvolving story despite the madness and the royalty; very hard-working Rylance; there is a LOT of countertenor singing.

65
Enchanting, Disappointing, Great singing, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if you are a fan of Mark Rylance, or just want to see the enchanting design and absorb the unique experience.

Don't see it if you are expecting plot, character development, dramatic tension, conflict, or really a fully thought out play.

60
Beautiful set and costumes, Wonderful mark rylance, Disappointing, Dull, Terrible writing

See it if you are a huge Mark Rylance fan, otherwise save your money.

Don't see it if you are looking for a stimulating and engaging evening in the theater.

55
Disappointing, Great acting, Slow

See it if You love mark rylance

Don't see it if You are prone to falling asleep in the theater

50
Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated

See it if You enjoy period pieces with lots of anachronisms or you enjoy Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if You have other options or you don’t find mental illness funny.

Also I expected to love this play, and I was seriously disappointed. Maybe ... Read more Read less

50
Banal, Cliched, Dated, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if you like period pieces. If traditional opera stagings of, say, Handel, is your cup of tea. If you an incurable Rylance fan.

Don't see it if you want your play to make your think. If you like smart scripts. If you are not into the banality of period pieces.

Also I saw it last month and already forgot what it was about. I remember i... Read more Read less

65
Disappointing, Great acting, Indulgent, Overrated, Ambitious

See it if you are a Mark Rylance fan

Don't see it if you think a good play should have a good script not just a good set.

Also Even Mark Rylance couldn't save this one. My mind kept wandering throu... Read more Read less


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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