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

During previews
Puzzling, Great acting, Great singing, Clever, Great staging

See it if you want to see great staging and un-mic-d actors actually project their voices (=real actors) and if you enjoy baroque music

Don't see it if you want plays to mean something

Also fabulous staging and acting, but the purpose of the piece is not clear... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Great singing

See it if like Mark Rylance's acting and enjoy opera

Don't see it if prefer musicals with a lighter story

During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting

See it if Want a delightful evening of pleasurable opera, good acting, and creative candlelight, set in the 18th century,

Don't see it if You are impatient for fast action and unexpected turn of events.

During previews
Enchanting, Funny, Original, Refreshing, Mark rylance

See it if You want to see Mark Rylance on stage. He's always a treat. The play around him isn't the best, but it's a fun, calming evening.

Don't see it if You're a tourist who wants to see a Broadway spectacle. The aesthetic here is gentle and calming because of all the candle light.

During previews
Great singing, Lovely costumes, Disappointing, Interesting, Dramatic arc missing

See it if If you love Handel sung by counter-tenor which I didn't know I would like so much.

Don't see it if you expect a play that has a dramatic arc and offers true transformation.

Also The theme of music and art having the power to heal is a good one, how... Read more Read less

During previews
Great acting, Beautiful singing, Theatre as it should be

See it if You appreciate Mark Rylance and great acting; love historical dramas; want to both learn and be entertained by theatre.

Don't see it if You prefer comedies, musicals (there is music but this is not a "musical"), or prefer contemporary dramas.

During previews
Great singing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Clever

See it if You adore watching Mark Rylance. Brilliant acting:humor & madness. Lovely operatic music. Set in 1735 London and Spain. Real costumes!

Don't see it if Portrayals of madness upset you. (This one is quite moving.) You loathe operatic music. Not suitable for children. The play is a tragedy.

During previews
Absorbing, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing, Must see

See it if you're a Mark Rylance stan or you're very into hearing a countertenor singing Handel arias (I am both!)

Don't see it if you're looking for great writing. The script fine - workmanlike, I'd say - but not the main draw.

During previews
Clever, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy Mark Rylance and a cappella music.

Don't see it if do not enjoy historical plays.

During previews
Great acting, Enchanting, Must see

See it if If you like terrific acting, unique staging, interesting blending of play and opera.

Don't see it if opera turns you off

During previews
Great singing, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if You like having new theatre experiences

Don't see it if You like standard entertainment

During previews

See it if you like a chamber piece.

Don't see it if you expect a fully-formed and engaging story and expect the acting to blow you away. It felt completely underdeveloped.

During previews
Exquisite, Great writing, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You want to see a show that touches existence issues with subtlety/tenderness. I’m surprised the bitterness and soft undertone mixed up well

Don't see it if You don’t get that British/European subtlety. Some details are easy to miss if you don’t do some thinking. Or you don’t like period set.

Also This is really good. The set, the costume, the writing, the cast, the ... Read more Read less

During previews
Masterful, Magnificent production, haunting music, slyly thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy opera, beautiful staging and very good acting. Iestyn Davies is amazing; it is easy to believe the music is transformative.

Don't see it if You dislike opera or prefer action to conversation.

Also The lovely Belasco theater was a perfect setting for this play. The st... Read more Read less

During previews
Clever, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy masterpiece theatre, costumes, beautiful music, know the Farenelli story

Don't see it if You can't bear poorly articulated lines, great actors not doing their best, and a play that requires prior knowledge of story

During previews
Enchanting, Great acting, Intelligent, Refreshing, Beautiful

See it if you are interested in the inherent poetry that exists in music and science, and if you want to marvel in the wonder that is Mark Rylance.

Don't see it if you're going to get squidgy about Bechdel tests and the like - it fails.

Also The first act is absolutely enchanting - gorgeous, heartbreaking, beau... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Riveting

See it if Amazing Mark Rylance and great cast. Beautiful singing from Iestyn Davies will fill your soul. Unlike anything else on Broadway.

Don't see it if I don't know why you wouldn't want to see it.

During previews
Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Funny, Slow

See it if You love great sets and semi-immersive theater. Character driven drama. Rylance is brilliant, as is the rest of cast. The music is beautiful

Don't see it if You are seeking suspense. The play itself has some slow moments where the trajectory of the plot gets lost.

During previews
Cliched, Entertaining, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You are a fan of classical theatre, but would like a little twist.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of classical theatre, or opera.

During previews
Disappointing, Boring, Cliched, Irritating

See it if Slow historical drama

Don't see it if Countertenors and directionless direction

During previews
Delightful, Clever, Funny, Great acting, Must see

See it if you enjoy history, humor and heart.

Don't see it if you have trouble with British accents.

During previews
Surprising, Delightful, Funny, Thought-provoking, Great singing

See it if You want to hear beautiful countertenor arias and experience a surprisingly funny yet sad and thought-provoking performance

Don't see it if You hate opera, are uncomfortable seeing insanity portrayed, can't handle a little profanity, or want a nice, traditional play or opera

Also I went in expecting a dry but interesting drama, an ultimately sad sto... Read more Read less

During previews
Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing, Masterful

See it if You want to see a truly unique show with world-class acting, humor, and operatic singing, but not a typical musical

Don't see it if You're a child or afraid of candles. That's all I got. This show is spectacular and beautiful, and every adult could enjoy it.

During previews
Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent

See it if you want to see Mark Rylance do his thing in an elegant, ethereal setting.

Don't see it if opera is not your thing or you want a story that moves in a well-paced linear fashion

Also The staging and arias created a lovely mood--candlelit stage, gorgeous... Read more Read less

During previews
Entertaining, Great acting, Resonant, Disappointing

See it if you want to see Mark Rylance deliver a stunning performance, and explore mental illness. Sam Crane also is pretty great.

Don't see it if you're looking for great writing or are expecting a fully period piece (this doesn't seem to know if it is or not).

Also Act II is much worse than Act I. There's a weird breaking of the fourt... 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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