The Clockmaker’s Daughter, an original musical faerytale by Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn, is set in the fictional town of Spindlewood. When clockmaker Abraham’s wife dies, he creates a woman, Constance, out of clocks. As she comes to life, she becomes more and more real, learning to talk and sew and becomes more inquisitive about the world outside of the four walls she lives in. When Constance steps outside of the confines of the house, she accidentally bumps into Amelia who is holding her new wedding dress. It falls into the well and is ruined. Constance runs home and makes the most beautiful dress to replace the one she ruined. She becomes the talk of the town and is embraced by all. But when Abraham finds out she has disobeyed him and left the house, he hides the key which keeps her wound and then suddenly, in front of the whole town, she stops. Thinking she has been cursed by a demon, the town turn against her. Do they really believe Constance is a witch? Will they crucify her at the stake or come forward one by one to stand up for the woman with more heart than most people with one do? Sometimes things only break when they have nothing to keep them together.
Despite being called The Clockmaker’s Daughter, throughout the majority of the show it feels more like Abraham wants Constance for his wife and not his daughter. It could be misconstrued that he is a violent, aggressive husband to her when I think he is really supposed to be just a strict, well meaning father.
There are some great musical numbers in this show. Where You Will Be is a beautiful love song between Will and Constance, A Modest Modiste is well performed by Jo Wickham and the shows final song Clockwork is a show stopping number. There is some great Irish music, especially in the wedding scene, with dancing and lots of foot stamping.
The attention to detail in this production is incredible for a small production. Beautiful costumes and a huge set that looks like it has come from a West End show, with clock projections on the walls, great lighting and cleverly moving set pieces. The show has strong elements of huge West End shows like Wicked, Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera but with enough originality to make it fresh and new.
Jennifer Harding shows how incredibly talented she is in the role of Constance. She has great movement as the doll that comes to life and the best voice in the show. Her rendition of If You Could See My Heart in act 2 is brilliant. Alan McHale is equally as talented as Will, the boy who falls for Constance. Can he still love her after he finds out the truth about who she really is though?
Lawrence Carmichael is a good actor as Abraham, his desperation for the girl he has created is well portrayed (reminiscent of the Phantoms obsessive nature in Phantom of the Opera) with a real ‘if I can’t have you, no one can’ attitude. Sometimes sounding a little off-key but nothing a few vocal lessons couldn’t iron out.
Rob McManus is great as Mayor Glynn, a cross between the Wizard (in the Wizard of Oz) and Doc Brown from Back to the Future (maybe it was all the clocks making me think that). The evil dress maker of the town Ma’ Riley (played hilariously by Jo Wickham) is Thenardier esq, with huge colourful dresses and green eye shadow. When she realises someone is trying to outshine her dress making skills she sets out on a witch hunt to track down the person responsible.
With a huge cast of twenty people, it is impossible to talk about everyone but the group performed amazingly in ensemble numbers, perfectly harmonising the melodies.
With a few tweaks, this show could slot straight on to the West End stage. This is one of the best off-west end productions around goes to prove that just because budgets may not be huge, if your show is a labour of love then you can give it the attention it deserves and create something wonderful.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter melted my heart and judging my the sniffles around the audience at the end, it was quite emotional for everyone else too. Go see it!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Poppy Carter
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is playing at the Landor Theatre until 4 July 2015. Click here for more information and to book tickets