I was a huge fan of Michael Webborn and Daniel Finn’s musical The Clockmaker’s Daughter when it premiered at the Landor back in 2015, and loved getting to revisit the show when Trinity Laban’s final year students mounted the show a year later. So news of a cast recording was excitedly received in the Clowns household, especially once the company was revealed, featuring the likes of Ramin Karimloo, Hannah Waddingham, Christine Allado and Fra Fee.
And with those stalwart supporters of new musical theatre Auburn Jam at the helm (Joe Davison producing), the album sounds like an absolute dream. The show describes itself as “a musical faerytale” and the richness of the score reflects the considerable folk heritage of the British Isles, utilising Celtic influences as it is set in the fictional Irish village of Spindlewood but widening out its focus to produce something joyously universal.
From swooningly romantic ballads to rousing choral numbers, the writing here is wonderfully self-assured, full of bold tunes that worm their way into the ear and a lyrical elegance that traces the tragic beauty of the story arc. For me, the album’s undoubted highlight is the duet ‘If You Could See My Heart’, a characterful Fee and deeply emotive Allado combining to gorgeous effect as their relationship teeters on the brink of something momentous.
But there’s treasures aplenty to be found here, the lushness of the arrangements and the calibre of the cast a constant delight. The subtler sides of Karimloo’s expressive tenor are given free rein on the powerful ‘You’re Still Here’, Waddingham revels in the swirling drama of ‘Fears and Whispers’, the aching timelessness of the narrative shining through even in these fragments. And there’s a stirring strength to the full company numbers that remind you it takes a village to…well, that would be giving the plot away.
It’s lovely to see that the ensemble features a number of faces from the original Landor cast, tipping the hat to their exceptional work in birthing the show. And hopefully the higher profile of the cast here will bring this ace new musical to the attention of a much wider audience and secure it the revival it so richly deserves.
Limited edition CDs, complete with cover design by Kyle Lambert (Stranger Things) and original concept artwork by Daniel Finn, can be ordered here. The album will also be available via all major digital download stores including iTunes, AmazonMP3 and GooglePlay.
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