New in 2017 Three-time Tony Winner Mark Rylance stars in the the true story of Philip V of Spain who finds relief from depression by performances of a court musician, the famous castrato Farinelli.
From the producers: "Farinelli and the King" tells the story of Philippe V, a Spanish monarch on the brink of madness. He finds unexpected solace in the voice of world-renowned castrato, Farinelli. This contemporary work is presented in the signature style of Shakespeare's Globe - candlelight, Baroque instruments and intimate onstage seating create an enchanting theatergoing experience.
"Farinelli and the King" premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2015, before transferring to a sold-out engagement in the West End in Fall 2015, where it was the highest grossing show in the history of the Duke of York’s Theatre, and received six Olivier Award nominations. The production stars three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance ("Bridge of Spies," "Jerusalem," "Boeing-Boeing,").
John Dove directs the production that features Rylance alongside his original London cast members Sam Crane, Huss Garbiya, Colin Hurley, and Edward Peel. The production also stars Grammy Award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies as the singing voice of Farinelli. Davies will share the singing role of Farinelli with another artist to be announced.
Van Kampen's fact-based but liberally embroidered drama isn't so sensational...still, the drama is a richly theatrical reminder of what art can do. It also has an ace up its brocaded sleeve. Rylance is riveting as the bedeviled ruler. At times he is deliciously daft and spontaneous, but he's also occasionally too stagy and calculating to ring true. Dove's candlelit staging is appointed with sumptuous eye candy. The play's poky first half meanders, but it gains momentum after the intermission.
If the play is structurally shaky and thematically a tad thin, Dove's exquisite staging yields compensatory rewards. While director Dove and expert designer Fensom have crafted some gorgeous tableaux, the drama becomes borderline inert. That weakness puts an undue burden on Rylance to pull out every entertaining trick (and tic) in his impressive arsenal. The deteriorating mental health of a monarch here doesn't constitute a sustaining narrative arc, even if Rylance's commanding performance remains the center of attention.