This turned out to be the bonus of the week. We went because it starred Mark Rylance, but had no other expectations. It was a terrific play, with a superb cast. Mark Rylance played the King with opera star Iestyn Davies as the castrato, Farinelli, who sang wonderful Handel arias. The original Farinelli first sang them in the 1730’s.
Rylance’s wife, Claire van Kampen was the writer and musical arranger. John Dove was the director.
Original practices gave us a stage lit almost exclusively by candlelight. It was a magical performance. If someone had said that I would love a play about a depressed and insomniac King and his relationship with a castrato, I doubt that I would have agreed. Having seen it, I loved it.
The power of Rylance was demonstrated when an audience member in the near box had a medical emergency of some sort. Rylance noticed, spoke to the individual and kept the audience absolutely silent simply by raising one hand and saying ”One moment please.” Then he resumed the play. Moments like this are what makes live theatre so exciting!