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

Overrated, Tedious, Pretentious, Slow, Unfocused

See it if you're absolutely passionate about countertenor singing ... and want to see it even if it's embedded in a vehicle with no discernible plot.

Don't see it if you expect something like THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III (with its wit and drive). This play will disappoint mightily. What were they thinking?

Academic, Stagey, Disappointing, Dispiriting, Misguided

See it if you own a flashy period costume worthy of an 18th century Spanish court and you can get tickets that will put you onstage with the cast.

Don't see it if you detest playwrights who display more research than heart or great actors who are reduced to hamming it up for easy laughs.

Cliched, Great singing, Great acting, Disappointing, Banal

See it if You love Mark Rylance or haven't gotten the chance to see him on stage yet.

Don't see it if You like plays that feel like they took more than 12 hours to write.

Also Not Rylance's best work (he really isn't given much here) but he prove... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Contrived,, Overrated

See it if you like Mark Rylance, wonderful performance.

Don't see it if want to hear superlative singing. An average/good singer wouldn't be that day's rock star or cure a king.

Also Silly thrown in love affair between Farinelli and the King's wife. Con... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Boring

See it if You're a Rylance completist, but don't expect much. Or if you want to see how much an actor truly loves his wife. (Answer below)

Don't see it if Oh almost any reason will do...

Also I couldn't fathom why Rylance, who can surely attach himself to any pr... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Great singing, Cliched

See it if You like arias, candle light, and Mark Rylance pulling deep from his bag of tricks with little to show for it.

Don't see it if You want a story, original jokes, or competent writing. Truly, it's baffling that this is on Broadway.

Banal, Cliched, Overrated

See it if no reason to see it. I hated it from the opening moments. Some of the actors tried their best.

Don't see it if I've like Mark Rylance before, but this was just awful. Embarrassing in parts.

Banal, Disappointing, Enchanting, Indulgent, Overrated

See it if You love beautiful sets, and Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if You like good plots, characters you want to root for, and excitement.

Disappointing, Mugging is not acting

See it if you love to see Mark Rylance doing the same mugging schtick he did in Boeing Boeing and Twelfth night. Alas, he is so good in films

Don't see it if you expect a plot or tension rather than just a situation: madman is calmed by singing

Overrated, Indulgent, Insipid, Excruciating, Great acting

See it if You want to see Mark Rylance or the excellent musicians.

Don't see it if You want to see an incredibly weak play. It's message may be true and beautiful but the play goes off the rails, becoming messy and vapid.

Disappointing, Misconnected

See it if Confusing. No plot. Love connection out of nowhere. No introducing the connection. Awful. A definite miss, waste of money.

Don't see it if DO yourself a favor, do NOT see it

During previews
Disappointing, Boring, Cliched, Irritating

See it if Slow historical drama

Don't see it if Countertenors and directionless direction

During previews
Slow, Cliched, Disappointing, Overrated, Great staging

See it if you're a superfan of Rylance. Got me in the door. Or if you just can't get enough of the 17th cent. aria canon, sung castrato.

Don't see it if you're expecting Rylance to once again transport you. I know it's just me (see other reviews) but I never cared about the king's plight.

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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