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
82
Avg Score

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.

82
Great acting, Great singing, Enchanting, Exquisite, Funny

See it if you want to see--as you certainly should--Rylance's amazing acting (matched by others in the cast), beautifully staged with much humor.

Don't see it if you don't like farce, even when it's based in language and not physical humor; or, if you require a 2nd act to match the heights of the 1st.

83
Great acting, Great singing, Curious story

See it if Wonderful Mark Rylance as the (sometimes) mad King Philip. Thrilling counter-tenor singing. Based on a true story.

Don't see it if Neither conventional plot nor typical Bway music. Story a bit of a mash-up. Also squeaky floorboards.

Also Interesting story of a King who could only find solace for his fevered... Read more Read less

85
Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great singing, Intelligent

See it if you are looking for fantastic acting from one of the great actors now playing. The sining is also first rate

Don't see it if I can't think of any reason not to see this

90
Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Funny

See it if you want to see the great Mark Rylance in yet one more amazing performance, as well as sublime renditions of Handel, in a truly offbeat tale

Don't see it if you only like fast-moving eventful plots and you don't like Mark Rylance or Handel!

85
Absorbing, Clever, Masterful, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if YouY are a fan of Mark Rylance. He is wonderful. Interesting staging unless Yoyou have stage seating on stage left upper level.

Don't see it if You are seeking an edgy drama

87
Enchanting, Great acting, Absorbing, Exquisite

See it if If you want to see a wonderful play with some beauriful opera singing. Costumes were great, acting outstanding.

Don't see it if If you are looking for a light hearted musical, or hate opera singing

88
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if You love Elizabethan plays that capture the times when Kings ruled the world. Beautiful staging. Original music & story. Mark Rylance rocks.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy Elizabethan music and a story about an incompetent king.

88
Absorbing, Great acting, Great singing, Intelligent, Quirky

See it if you love great acting and exquisite singing. The concept is interesting but it is the execution that makes this special. Rylance is unique

Don't see it if you do not like baroque music or are put off by countertenor singing. or if you need action or even well developed plot. This is about soul

82
Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Uneven

See it if you are a fan of Mark Rylance and/or baroque opera and are willing to accept an interesting but flawed play to enjoy great performances.

Don't see it if you don't like historical plays and don't respond to baroque music.

95
Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing, Funny

See it if you want to see a play that touches all senses with ethereal voice of countertenor Davies. Sir Mark delivers humor in this historical piece

Don't see it if you don’t enjoy period piece or plays with baroque music

Also I loved the whole experience! I had a different view of the show as I ... Read more Read less

90
Enchanting, Transcendent

See it if inspiring story about the miraculous,saving power of music.Mark Rylance is incomparable .Iestyn Davies is divine as Farinelli. I was in awe!

Don't see it if I can not think of any reason not to see this show.It is really outstanding.

100
Absorbing, Ambitious, Exquisite, Great singing, Great acting

See it if Story of castrato singer (1705-1782), privately served music therapy to King Phillipe V (Mark Rylance); sung by incomparable Iestyn Davies.

Don't see it if you don't like early opera, or history, skip this one.

80
Great acting, Absorbing, Uneven

See it if You wan't to see an all-star performance from Mark Rylance - the man is an absolute gem and impossible to take your eyes off!

Don't see it if You want a play that's a little more even - when Rylance leaves the stage, the show slows immediately and doesn't quite hold its draw.

97
Quirky, Charming, Visually stunning, Expressive, Masterful

See it if MARK Freakin' RYLANCE!!!!!! and the beautiful singing of Iestyn Davies. A beautiful, charming and endearing night at the theatre.

Don't see it if No, really...MARK Freakin' RYLANCE!!!!! If you enjoy acting...at all...get some up close seats and watch a master at work.

Also Beautiful. Touching. Endearing. That is the double edged sword that is... Read more Read less

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if A set that brings you back in time with candles that illuminate the stage. The cast make you believe your in 18th century Spain.

Don't see it if Your not sophisticated enough to appreciate the beauty of theatre and how it can transport you to another place.

78
Great acting, Great staging, Ambitious, Intelligent, Delightful

See it if You want to see masters on stage.

Don't see it if You don't care for history plays or altered reality.

87
Absorbing, Ambitious, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy historically-based drama. You want to see Mark Rylance live - he is a master of the craft!

Don't see it if You want to see a musical. You want pure entertainment -not a play that has great acting and has a historical basis.

88
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Great singing, Intense

See it if you want to see a master in his craft and a gripping period piece

Don't see it if you don't like opera or highbrow art

70
Entertaining, Banal, Fluffy

See it if You like historical fiction. Interesting subject matter, but there’s not much of a play here. It all looks beautiful, but I wanted more.

Don't see it if You're looking for a new and exciting play.

78
Rylance is a true king of broadway

See it if Farinelli's celestial voice has the power to heal the "mad king" of Spain; beautiful staging and candlelight; loved Mark Rylance

Don't see it if don't let the two Farinellis (one speaks, one sings) distract you...

Also Mark Rylance brilliantly portrays Philippe V, a French born, Spanish k... Read more Read less

91
Enchanting, Entertaining, Great staging, Great singing, Funny

See it if You like history, music, great staging and singing and can forgive weak script in which King Phillip V mental illness healed by castrato.

Don't see it if Your idea of fun is not Mark Rylance being cured from manic-depression by gorgeous Handel counter-tenor arias by Iestyn Davies-beautiful set

78
Glorious baroque opera excerpts, Rylance doesn't disappoint, Heavenly music; mundane script, Candle-lit atmosphere give the globe effect

See it if you're a Rylance fan (though if you find him mannered, this will not change your mind); you love baroque opera (you'll leave wanting more)

Don't see it if You're expecting a nuanced or politically astute play; you don't like Rylance; you don't like the Globe theatre aesthetic

Also The glories of this production are not the playwright's words, but the... Read more Read less

95
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you love Mark Rylance, great acting, countertenors and/or history-based theatre.

Don't see it if you don't like period pieces or operatic singing.

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.


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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