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

Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing, Disappointing writing

See it if Mark Rylance - wonderful performance as usual; great operatic singing; beautiful period costumes; interesting story-healing effects of music

Don't see it if 2 Farinellis when there is singing; disappointing writing especially Act 2 which is darker and slower; some crude jokes throughout

Also I thought having the 2 Farinellis worked surprisingly well. It seemed ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent, Great staging

See it if You want to see Mark Rylance in a so-so play. When he's off stage, you can't wait for his return.

Don't see it if you know nothing about opera during the era of castrati. Outside of the music, Rylance's performance and those candles - not much more.

Funny, Great acting, Intense

See it if you've never had the opportunity to see Mark Rylance perform. Naturally, he's fantastic.

Don't see it if historical dramas aren't your thing.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Must see

See it if Historically based drama/comedy, Italian castrato opera, Mark Rylance= perfection! Although not for everyone .

Don't see it if Do not see if you do not like period pieces, opera or Mark Rylance.

Great acting, Slow 2nd act

See it if you want to see a tour de force performance by Mark Rylance. Go see if for him! Great 1st act. If the second act had matched, it'd be a 93.

Don't see it if -You don't like anachronistic language for period piece. - Aren't patient. 2nd act drags. - Don't like classical singing.

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.)

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.

Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Great writing, Great singing

See it if You would like to experience a magnificent play. Totally moving ...A MUST SEE....

Don't see it if I would see it no matter what...

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

See it if You are interested in a very unique and entertaining play. The plot is based on historical figures.The incomparable Rylance and cast shine!

Don't see it if This type of play,with "Globe Theater" like staging,candlelit scenes,baroque music and operatic singing are not for you.

Great singing, Great acting, Informative, historical

See it if you are fascinated about the historical events showing how song soothes & cures a bipolar Spanish king in the 1700's starring Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if you are not a fan of historical plays that take liberty in presenting the facts of an actual event.

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?

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

Ambitious, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You like fabulous acting and a clever and complex plot. Wonderful way to. E transported back in time especially if you sit on the stage.

Don't see it if Don’t like history—don’t want to be transported to another place—don’t like subtle and complex performances.

Great acting, Great singing, Slow, Masterful, Thought-provoking

See it if Your into period pieces. Mark Rylance was amazing in this role! And have a love for opera as well.

Don't see it if your not into period pieces and thought provoking play.

Great singing, Banal, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if Beautiful countertenor, Iestyn Davies and Mark Rylance. Handsome set.

Don't see it if Sloppy, and at times weighty stage play. Borders on pedestrian.

Absorbing, Great staging, Original, Quirky, Funny, bittersweet

See it if a most unusual play featuring a riveting Mark Rylance, glorious music & singing, striking set, & poignant, truth-based story intrigue you.

Don't see it if you need more than character-centric drama; you're likely irked by period-piece wigs/costumes, atypical dual-acted role, or melancholy tale.

Also I usually avoid countertenor performance, but I was familiar with (& l... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing

See it if You want another master class in acting, from Mark Rylance. I don’t know how well this would have worked with another actor, but exquisite!

Don't see it if You’re looking for a ton of action. This is a character piece, that creeps up on you, and breaks your heart, while being entertaining.

Clever, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing

See it if Exquisite jewel of a mood play exploring the restorative powers of music and the nature of public and private self

Don't see it if You don’t love arias or counter tenors; need a straight dramatic play bc this is much more of a magical evocation of a mad king and a singer

Great staging, Great acting, Great singing, Unexpectedly complex and fascinating

See it if Rylance plus an excellent cast in an innovative and complex play based on court history with gorgeous music is for you.

Don't see it if you don't like counter tenors or period-authentic costumes, set and staging; if British accents are hard for you to decipher.

Exquisite, Entertaining, Enchanting, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want to see theatre at its best and enchanting opera tunes. The actors make you believe you are in modern Spain. Philip V sells crazy.

Don't see it if You don’t like historical pieces. You need feel good catchy musical numbers

Great acting, Great staging, Entertaining, Raunchy, Masterful

See it if you are looking to watch a masterful performance by one of the world's greatest actors.

Don't see it if you are anti anachronisms or have difficulty with stories from the past.

Clever, Exquisite, Masterful, Must see, Riveting

See it if you want to see a stunning British production that has drama, humor, and a marvelous countertenor

Don't see it if a great theater-going experience isn't for you; you can't get tickets before it closes

Delightful, Masterful, Moving, Touching, Musical

See it if Rylance is as masterful as ever; ambitious staging with live counter-tenor is pure theatricality; touching and humorous amidst the pathos

Don't see it if Its Masterpiece Theatre/Indie movie story-driven structure may be boring to those looking for an entertaining diversion

Enchanting, Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if You love history and opera. This has both along with great actors and Mark Rylance who is beyond great. The staging is just superb.

Don't see it if You prefer a more frothy escape type of play.

Arresting, Enchanting, Masterful, Hilarious

See it if you wanna be swept up in an enchanting tale that simultaneously casts a hopeful light on mental illness and the power of artistic expression

Don't see it if you have no intention of shedding your uncultured hide.

Also Mark Rylance is an absolute force of nature and the script is both ent... 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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