Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | The Clockmaker's Daughter at the Landor Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | The Clockmaker's Daughter at the Landor Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | The Clockmaker's Daughter at the Landor Theatre
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-19691,single-format-standard,tribe-no-js,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.2.1,vc_responsive

02 Jun REVIEW: The Clockmaker’s Daughter at the Landor Theatre

The Clockmaker's Daughter Landor Theatre courtesy of Poppy Carter 2The comings and goings of Spindlewood, a backwater town in rural Ireland, are just as predictable today as they were hundreds of years ago. You could say they’ve been carrying on like clockwork, perhaps. The townspeople still chatter, the farmers still trade, and the statue of the lady still stands in the square, arm in the air as if saluting the sky. Her name is Constance, and The Clockmaker’s Daughter is her story.

A shimmering new musical from writing partnership Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a gorgeous piece of musical theatre, it’s beautiful visuals surpassed only by an exquisite score, all brought to life by an equally outstanding cast. Embodying everything you’d ever hope for from a “folk faerytale” – and more – the clarity and precision of the storytelling evoke that ineffable magic of a bedtime story, one of those tales that’d have you begging to hear the ending before going to sleep, then demanding to hear it again and again, night after night after night.

Compelling viewing, it’s almost as though in the course of the show the Clockmaker somehow tinkers with time, audience watches proving the passage of some two and a half hours that were clearly never there, or that had been scattered, perhaps, amongst the timepieces adorning the walls. Forming part of David Shields’ marvellously abstract, yet detailed, set, the timepieces are just one example where adopting thematic indicators rather than fixating on a specific image empowers audience members to let their imaginations run wild, playing into that notion of watching the show being a lot like reading a storybook, stimulating a lovely image that the mind can’t help but embellish.

Conversely, an aspect that couldn’t possibly want further embellishment, is Webborn and Finn’s complex score, the sound of strings resonating throughout, as melodies leap up and dance around, before diving back into the body of the orchestrations. Certainly putting the “folk” into “folk faerytale,” The Clockmaker’s Daughter truly is a journey told through music, with the feel of a heavyweight musical and an added dash or two of magic, from the sound quality that comes as part of adopting an acoustic performance.

The Clockmaker's Daughter Landor Theatre courtesy of Poppy Carter 8In the lead role Jennifer Harding delivers a knock-out performance, the vocal gymnastics demanded of her showcasing her talent, acted through as one of the kindest and most likeable characters imaginable. Alongside her, particular mention also has to go to Jo Wickham’s pantomime Dame of a Ma’ Riley, hysterical in her deliciously vicious characterisation of the rude and jealous seamstress, as well as to Alyssa Martyn for a beautiful Amelia, and to Alex Spinney for an assured Henry. These, though are just four of twenty (!) contributants to this fantastic ensemble piece. Twenty would be a large cast for any production, but for the Landor Theatre, one of London’s more bijoux theatre spaces, that’s gigantic. Carefully choreographed and skilfully arranged, the sheer density of bodies and talent compound the intensity of the musical, particularly in the all-cast numbers bracketing the interval, barn storming, foot stomping numbers that leave you with no choice but to grin from ear to ear, and hum to yourself all the way through the break.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter, just like the eponymous character, is a musical that gets under your skin and inside your heart. A hugely accomplished production, it’s astonishing to know that this is only the first outing of an original new musical, and it seems certain, now, that Constance’s journey will not come to end with this run on 4th July.

For tickets and information:
Venue: The Landor Theatre
Dates: 27th May – 4th July 2015
Images: Poppy Carter

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here