Re-mastered, Re-released Original Cast Album
1988 was not only Australia’s Bicentennial Year – it was also the Centennial Year of James Hardie Industries Limited and to celebrate that occasion the company sponsored David Reeves’ original musical production of ‘Seven Little Australians’ based on Ethel Turner’s classic story and which premiered at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne, followed by a major Australian tour in 1988 and 1989.
In the Australia that was, in the nineteen eighties, this show broke new ground in commercial home grown commercial theatre, being taken up and accepted by mainsteam audiences for the first time in a way not seen before.
|1.||Look For A Rainbow|
|4.||The Academie Du Monsieur Marceau|
|5.||Can You Love Me|
|6.||The Little General’s Parade|
|8.||Walking The Block|
|13.||Fall In Like With You|
|14.||Catching The Central Express|
|15.||Can You Love Me (Reprise)|
|16.||The Boys From Yarrahappini|
|18.||Look For A Rainbow|
Reviews for Seven Little Australians
“Ten out of Ten” said ‘Time Out‘ in 1988.
“Seven Little Australians’ is a family show, enjoyable and uplifting by the sheer force of it’s joys and sorrows. Songs like ‘Look for a Rainbow’ may well become evergreens, without our having to go as far as Gundagai for them” – ‘Time Out’ – 1988
The London Stage wrote, “David Reeves’ music is catchy and charming. Pamela French has choreographed some boistrous, show-stopping production numbers – In almost thirty years of theatre going down under this reviewer has never seen a local musical with more potential for overseas production” – Raymond Stanley – London Stage 1988.
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote, “It would be provocative to describe the Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmanian seasons of Seven Little Australians as out of town tryouts, but Sydney has certainly benefited from the fact that this ‘home-grown musical’ has now been well and truly run-in”.
“Seven Little Australians, composed and created by David Reeves from the novel by Ethel Turner is certainly an achievement within that home-spun, folksy style of musical, most recently seen in ‘Big River’ with which it compares favourably”.
“The comic numbers such as ‘L’Academie du Monsieur Marceau’, ‘Deportment’ and ‘Discipline’ have a tempo and a narrative thrust that support vibrant dance routines. Perhaps the best of all are, ‘Catching the Central Express’ – featuring kids and chorus, and ‘Boys from Yarahappini’ – a real woolshed hoedown”. ‘Seven Little Australians’ wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve, a polished, engaging family show.” – Bob Evans – Sydney Morning Herald 1989
In his review on opening night in Melbourne, Melbourne Herald reviewer David Matthews addressed some of the reasons that perhaps for many, Seven Little Australians indeed has a timeless character.
Matthews wrote, “David Reeves’ racy new production as a musical is the tale of the seven unruly Australians, their military father and his young wife. The complex relationship in the show is seen in the equal weight given to the Captain’s frustration at his inability to spend more time with his wife and children, and Esther’s grappling with doubts about her marriage to an older man. They share the finest duets, ‘Look for a Rainbow’ and ‘Can you Love Me’.
Even with the froth and bubble and the colour of spectacular crowd scenes and dances, this show if anything, accentuates a rather stern moral tale. Judy, the artistic soul and misfit, has to be sacrificed. The disagreement between the Captain and his wife is largely due to his treatment of Judy. The couple are reconciled at the barn dance at Yarrahappini, but the fatal accident comes directly afterward.
This leaves a gap, but the tinge of tragedy can’t last as David Reeves’ boistrous score soon starts up again and the whole cast comes together to exhort us once again to ‘Look for a Rainbow”.
– David Matthews – 23 June 1988
And another slant from Helen Thomson’s review in The Age, again on opening night, 1988….
Thomson wrote, “That Turner conveniently killed off Judy before she actually had to face the problems of adulthood might seem like an easy way out, but, on the other hand, it provided a surge of real emotion that has assured her of a permanent place in the affections of (the audience). Turner won the hearts of her (audience) because she sanctioned the rebel. Seven Little Australians is pretty to look and listen to, (the melodies will not leave you alone when you leave the theatre). It is fresh, funny, and perfect family entertainment.
– Helen Thomson – The Age – June 1988
And in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph, Bronwen Gora looked at it from the perspective of the audience in her review. She wrote, “From the first burst of colour and life on stage, it’s obvious Seven Little Australians will be a delightful way to spend the next few hours.
– Bronwen Gora – Sunday Telegraph 24 September 1989
The little St James, King Street choirboy/organist who became synonymous with the Sydney Town Hall organ in the 60’s and 70’s “has come up with a masterpiece in this genre”, wrote Werner Baer in ‘Time Out’, in his “10 out of 10” review of ‘Seven Little Australians’ in 1989.