Back in 2015, I went to see a new musical, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, at the much missed Landor Theatre in London. In my review, I called the show “one of the best off-west end productions around” and so to hear that a studio recording of the show, featuring incredible talents like Ramin Karimloo, Hannah Waddingham, Fra Free and Christine Allado was being released, I was understandably excited and curious to revisit this musical.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter, an original story with original music, is set in the fictional Irish town of Spindlewood. Like most towns of age, Spindlewood has its traditions. But no practice, custom or old wives’ warning is so firmly adhered to as ‘The Turning of the Key’. Every year, on the last night of winter, as the first day of spring unfolds, the townsfolk gather to take part in a strange ritual… The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a beautiful story built around themes of prejudice, discrimination, animosity and a fear of the unknown -a folk musical with a specific, yet timeless, feel.
Within seconds of the album starting, you can tell it is going to be sensational. “The Turning of the Key” is a huge, ensemble number that gets bigger and bigger as it goes on, with Irish music and beautifully layered vocals. That is the number one thing you notice when listening to this album – the songs start out slowly and then get faster and faster, introducing extra vocal layers and performers. “Spindlewood”, “Market Day” and “A Town Meeting” show this especially. The latter song being a huge witch hunt where the town turn on the girl in question and the song builds into a huge fiery end that leaves you exhausted just from listening.
“Where You’ll Be” is a beautiful stand alone song that could be released as a single and “A Modest Modiste” is a hilarious patter song that is very much reminiscent of something Mrs Lovatt would sing in Sweeney Todd. “Keep It To Yourself” is a wonderfully funny ‘gossip’ song.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter does something similar to Miss Saigon. It draws you in to the story, allows you to make friends with the characters and then sits you on the edge of your seat, wondering how it will all end. I don’t think there are many shows that can really do that.
One of the best musicals I have ever heard and desperately needs to be seen again on stage. 5* in every sense of the word. It will leave you an emotional mess.
FOLLOW WEST END WILMA