The Clockmaker’s Daughter

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a relatively new British musical: it premiered last year at the Landor Theatre and now it’s back, performed by the Mitre Players at the Croydon Courtyard Theatre (in the yard of Croydon High School) and in August at the outdoor Minack Theatre in Cornwall. The Mitre Players are an amateur group, but there was very little that was amateur about this hugely enjoyable production. Okay, some of the sets were a little wobbly, but that only added to the charm.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a new fairytale, set in the late nineteenth century and the modern day. Residents of the town of Spindlewood – a strong ensemble made up of all age groups – gather by the statue of a young woman for the annual ritual, which involves turning the key in her back and hoping that this will be the year in which she comes to life.

We go back one hundred years to find the source of this legend. Clockmaker Abraham Reed, devastated at the death of his wife, builds a clockwork woman, whom he names Constance. Constance learns quickly and appears, to all intents and purposes, like a human being. Soon tiring of her life enclosed in the clockmaker’s shop, she heads out into the town, and transforms the residents’ lives forever.

As previously mentioned, the ensemble cast are really superb, coming into their own during the group numbers with beautiful harmonies. However, the lead cast members are excellent too. Megan Brown is particularly good as Constance: her slightly jerky movements convey her character’s clockwork origins and her singing is excellent. Calum Roy is an appealing hero, and Colin Warnock does a fantastic job of portraying Abraham, torn between his genuine love for Constance and his desire to keep her to himself. There are too many good cast members to list, but I also want to mention Helen Harries-Rees as as Ma Riley, proprietor of the dressmaker’s shop, who had a strong stage presence.

Di Jones’s costumes are highly effective, and the small band do a brilliant job at bringing Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn’s show to life. It is thoroughly enjoyable, witty and clever. If you happen to be in Cornwall this August I would urge you to catch this show. If not, I do hope The Clockmaker’s Daughter has a further life, as it really deserves it.

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