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

Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing

See it if If you're a Mark Rylance fan (as I am), if you'd be taken with meditations on fame and position and where one really belongs in life.

Don't see it if You need a lot of high drama. This is something of a quiet play, in terms of events happening, but beautiful.

Absorbing, Clever, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if you like historically-based plays. if you like victoria, the crown, wolf hall and the like, you'll enjoy this show

Don't see it if you're expecting show-stopping moments.

Entertaining, Great acting, Slow

See it if you must see everything Mark Rylance is in; believe music is the food of love; enjoy learning about crazy monarchs and castrati, literally.

Don't see it if you're not into 18th C. period drama.

Great acting, Exquisite, Slow, Fluffy

See it if You want to study why Mark Rylance is so good at his craft.

Don't see it if You want to see the rest of the cast doing a great job. They're all good--but they're not working together.

Great acting

See it if You enjoy plays taking place in other periods, filled with singing and clever humor.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy text-heavy shows.

Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy period pieces based on history. Costumes were excellent.

Don't see it if If you require constant action and singing

Banal, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if If you think Mark Rylance can do no wrong.

Don't see it if You expect a script with engrossing dramatic situations or elegant writing.

Also Mark Rylance is one of those actors who could make the telephone book ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Slow, Funny, Great singing

See it if You're a Mark Rylance fan, opera fan, or period drama fan. Basically it's Mark Rylance doing what Mark Rylance does.

Don't see it if You want something deeply moving. This show has great promise but falls short of the mark. Everything with the young singer is great.

Also I found the show a bit disappointing. It has moments that hint at what... Read more Read less

Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You like opera, great acting and Shakespearian type theater

Don't see it if You don't like historical drama set in 1700's, don't like British theater, not interested in opera

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting

See it if Acting is amazing, thank you Mark Rylance!

Don't see it if Besides acting, everything felt a little indulgent.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy VERY GOOD acting, excellent vocals and instrumentals, creative staging and an absorbing theater experience. And Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if If you don’t like/appreciate historical period dramas, and if you prefer “in your face” theater/entertainment.

Clever, Quirky, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny

See it if Mark Rylance lovers will love the show. Stunning staging...

Don't see it if You don't like historical type plays

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.

Exquisite, Great acting, Must see, Riveting, Absorbing

See it if you love theatre at its most beautiful

Don't see it if you are looking for something light

Delightful, Absorbing

See it if You’ve wanted to give classical music a try but haven’t made it to Lincoln center yet.

Don't see it if You want something upbeat and more modern

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

Great staging, Funny, Great singing, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if You like traditional theater

Don't see it if You don't have a fondness for the period.

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent

See it if you appreciate english humor

Don't see it if you ate a little opera....

During previews
Absorbing, Exquisite set/costumes, Uneven tone, Repetitive, Difficult sightlines

See it if you love Rylance. He dithers fr start to finish (even when cured). Prodn values are sky-high. The counter-tenor's voice is other-worldly.

Don't see it if you want a coherent plot/consistent tone. Sometimes elevated language, sometimes (for laughs) an F-bomb. Act I is compelling, Act II isn't.

Also First of all, the tix prices are high, but many seats have bad views. ... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Exquisite, Slow, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if You like period pieces. This tries very hard to be an accurate period piece, sometimes annoyingly so. A little hard to see and hear.

Don't see it if You’re easily bored. This is not fast paced or high action. It’s lit only by candlelight with no amped voices. Costumes/set are all drab.

During previews
Enchanting, Exquisite, Heartfelt, Inspiring, Funny

See it if Opera singer befriends ailing king and queen, enriching all their lives. Ethereal singing and candlelit staging. Mark Rylance was great.

Don't see it if You would not enjoy 1730’s operatic arias. You want more intense drama or a flashy musical. You can’t watch struggles with mental illness.

During previews
Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if you like a dose of Rylance, music, singing, humor, psychology, insanity and entertainment. Rylance is one of the wonders of the world.

Don't see it if I have nothing bad to say. Some think the play slow, I disagree and found it enticing. The arias, acting, writing, staging, are wonderful.

During previews
A delight, Remarkable rylance, Wonderful singing, Great staging, Second act slow

See it if Amazing blend of 18th century history & ethereal Handel countertenor singing on a candlelit stage. First act is fantastic, second drags a...

Don't see it if bit & there are some small things to carp about but you've come to see Rylance & hear Davies & in the moment they will transport you.

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, And true

See it if You like period pieces. If you like crazy but true story. Mark Rylance fabulous. Listen pay attention. Staging interesting. Different.

Don't see it if You want modern funny raunchy plays. This is a thinking person's play.

During previews
Poetic, Well-acted, Immersive, Haunting, Sometimes unevenly-paced

See it if you want a Globe Theatre, London experience; enjoy baroque-era and immersive plays; are a fan of Mark Rylance; can forgive uneven pacing.

Don't see it if you dislike 17th-to-18th-century stylings, dislike opera music (this isn't a musical, but it is a play that features it), lack imagination.

Also The candlelit production Farinelli and the King begins divinely. Rylan... 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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