Prepare to get excited: Mark Rylance is coming home. The irrepressible force that is Britain’s greatest stage actor returns to Shakespeare’s Globe for the first time since his genius, luminous and frankly downright hilarious turns in ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Richard III’ in 2012. But while back then the former Globe boss drew huge crowds in his old theatre’s main house, this time he’s performing in a much smaller affair, in new play ‘Farinelli and the King’ in the theatre’s beautiful new candle-lit indoor theatre the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Rylance will play King Philippe V of Spain in his wife Claire van Kampen’s new play with music, which follows the theatre’s trend (see last year’s ‘Gabriel’ and this year’s ‘Thomas Tallis’) of music-infused drama. Van Kampen’s drama is about a once world famous castrato Farinelli who trades fame and fortune for a life lived entertaining the court of King Philippe.
While ‘Jerusalem’ star Rylance will undoubtedly be the main draw, the main singing attraction will be two celebrated countertenors Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy. Tickets will be hot property – the capacity for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is much smaller than that of the Globe and catching Rylance on stage is a not-to-be-missed affair, and his star is only going rise higher when he takes the lead role of Thomas Cromwell in the BBC2 adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’, which broadcasts next year. So get booking now.
‘Farinelli and the King’ is on at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe from Feb 11-Mar 8.