A rare visit to the theatre to see “Farinelli And The King”

Although we live in London, Vee and I go too rarely to the theatre. One of my New Year resolutions for 2015 was to try to go to the theatre around once a quarter and this weekend we managed our third visit of the calendar year.

We went to the Duke of York’s Theatre (opened in 1892) to see the new play “Faninelli And The King” written by Claire van Kampen. It is an unusual and impressive work.

The Italian Faninelli (literally ‘little baker’) was the most talented and famous castrato of his time. His real name was Carlo Broschi and he lived from 1705-1782. In the production we saw, his singing persona was performed by counter tenor Owen Willetts.

The eponymous monarch was King Philippe V of Spain who suffered terribly from bipolar disorder, but found relief from the singing of Farinelli. In the play, he is portrayed brilliantly by Mark Rylance (husband of the writer) who ¬†was Cromwell in the recent BBC adaptation of “Wolf Hall”.

When we do go to the theatre, Vee and I are usually delighted by what we see, but too many of London’s theatres (especially the older ones) are very expensive, have cramped seating, and offer minimal toilet facilities.


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