Wife

Kiln Theatre, Kilburn

Indhu Rubasingham directs with focus and intensity, with Richard Kent's set and David Shrubsole's music creating all the ambiance necessary to tell this epic tale. Aleks Sierz, The Arts Desk

David Shrubsole’s original score is a vital part of the aural tapestry that makes this word-rich play move at a pace and connect to our emotions. Mary Beer, London Theatre 1

Sunshine On Leith

West Yorkshire Playhouse & on tour.

From the slow build of Sky Takes The Soul at the top of Act One, these dramas are played out against a soundtrack of songs by the Reid twins, each a finely crafted story in its own right made all the more poignant by David Shrubsole’s soaring arrangements and intricate harmonies Liam Rudden, The Scotsman

The onstage musicians and actor-musicians create a vibrant and authentically raucous atmosphere, and David Shrubsole’s inventive musical arrangements make even the most familiar of the featured tunes sound new and interesting. Gareth Davies, The Reviews Hub

David Shrubsole’s arrangement of ‘Letter From America’ makes it feel like one of the finest folk songs ever written, the unexpected harmonies in the middle of ‘500 Miles’ send shivers down your spine as does the haunting rhythm of the opening ‘Sky Takes The Soul’, and the sing-along feel of ‘Over and Done With’ is just delightful. There Ought To Be Clowns

The Great Wave

Dorfman, NT

Indhu Rubasingham’s direction is assisted by the encapsulating floor projections of rain and waterfall produced by Fran Miller, along with the haunting music from David Shrubsole which accompanied the most moving scenes.Cherwell

Nothing distracts as Piper’s set allows everything to revolve, including the sound. Oliver Fenwick’s lighting enjoys starkly-lit contrasts and unwonted brightness outdoors. David Shrubsole’s music is attractively restrained, where Alexander Caplen allows natural effects and a ghetto-blast of sound to crash like another surf. We’re not pulverised in the wrong places, as can happen particularly in thrillers and conventionally-threaded narratives like these. Fringe Review UK

Life Is For Living - Conversations With Coward

59e59, New York

Drama Desk Winner 2017

Shrubsole’s musical direction is superb. His composition “Everyday A Little More Like Me” is memorable and infuses Coward’s good-natured twitting of his own self-importance. The compositions are Sondheim-like, as in his music to Coward’s “Honeymoon 1905” and “Do I Believe?” The first resonates poignantly in Green’s measured, lovely interpretation; the second mirrors a condition that many will appreciate and identify with. For “Human Family” written by Maya Angelou, with music by Shrubsole, the latter outdoes himself, as does Green. Throughout, Shrubsole proves himself to be an inspired intimate of Coward who has integrated his opinions, witticisms, edginess, and enthusiasm into the musical evocations he has composed to encourage and give substance to Green’s performance. Carole Di Tosti, BC

 

Green gets major and marvelous assist from his accompanist and composer David Shrubsole who doesn't miss a beat following Green's breezy and purposely fluid narrative. Shrubsole's own lilting music and lyrics are woven seamlessly into the program. Simon Saltzman, Curtain Up.

 

The show, which opened on Sunday at 59E59 Theaters, combines songs with snippets from Coward’s letters and diaries, in roughly chronological order, as well as some of his verse, set to music by Mr. Shrubsole.  Mr. Shrubsole has composed a Coward-esque song, “Everyday a Little More Like Me,” that ties his self-discovery to his intoxication with New York City. Charles Isherwood, New York Times 18/12/16

 

Among real rarities are verses and lyrics that have been set to music by Shrubsole very much in Coward’s style: “Honeymoon 1905,” a sweet depiction of a couple not yet used to each other or their new life, the hilarious “Co-Communists,” Coward’s devastating views on politicians with additional updated lyrics by Shrubsole, and Do I Believe?, a poignant statement of Coward’s faith. Among the most surprising and cleverest numbers are Shrubsole’s original, “Everyday a Little More Like Me,” defining the creation of Coward’s persona, and Jeremy Nicholas’ “Place Settings,” a dazzling song about an outrageous party much in The Master’s style. Victor Gluck, Theatre Scene

 

Life is for Living is a stimulating, thought provoking and delightful evening of cabaret. Hearing what Noel Coward thinks, says and sings in this particular venue is a rare treat. Yvonne Korshak, Let’s Talk Off Broadway

 

The biggest surprise guest at the party is none other than Maya Angelou, whose poem "Human Family," with its curious mix of compassion and detachment, might have been written by Coward himself. David Barbour,  Light & Sound

The Threepenny Opera

National Theatre

Much of the quality of this production rests on David Shrubsole’s musical direction which, like the original 1928 Berlin production, uses an eight-piece band to do full justice to Weill’s plangent, sawn-off melodies. Michael Billington, The Guardian 27/5/16

 

David Shrubsole makes Kurt Weil’s score grind and whine, just as it should. Sunday Times 23/10/16

 

What really does work, exceptionally well, is David Shrubsole’s first class musical direction. The eight piece orchestra, all costumed as clown figures and occasionally having an onstage presence, pump Weill’s eclectic, jazz-influenced and stimulating score with zest and insinuating élan. Shrubsole ensures that clarity of diction is at a premium, and ensemble numbers have excellent balance and engage interest easily. Musically… this The Threepenny Opera rocks. Stephen Collins, Live Theatre Uk 

 

The particular joy of the Brecht/Weill version, of course, remains its insinuatingly dark musical score, pulsing with brass, strings and harmonium sounds, and rendered here with stunning élan under the musical direction of David Shrubsole for his onstage band. Mark Shenton London Theatre 27/5/16

 

The occasionally unpolished vocal delivery matches the rough-edged set and they are magnificently supported by David Shrubsole and his musicians, who wander in and out of the action in macabre gothic get-ups. As Mortimer’s sets disembowel the theatre, so Shrubsole’s band turn the opera inside out. Claire Seymour, Opera Today 31/5/16

Porgy & Bess

Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre

Timothy Sheader and David Shrubsole make their audience feel as though they are looking through a window of an all-dancing, all-singing African American jazz club of the 1920s, when we are really looking into the dark and distressed mind of its female lead. Outstanding operatic pitched and precise performances is but one strand of what makes this production excellent. Whether it is emotional solos that give cast members, both main and supporting, the chance to show off their singing skills, all songs are delivered with perfection and emotion. A stand-out musical numbers come from distraught widow Serena (Golda Rosheuvel) who, without being cliché, takes the audience out of the stunning scenery of the Open Air Theatre and to church with her versions of My Man’s Gone Now and Doctor Jesus.  Its not the only time the cast members and orchestra join forces to transport the audience to what feels like the safe house of church, or at least to a spiritual refuge through numbers that include Leaving For The Promise Land and Bess’ reprise of Summertime. Black Ballad 29/7/14

With this magnificent production, under the sighing trees and sunset glow of a London park, Timothy Sheader and musical director David Shrubsole rightly restore it to its towering emotional grandeur. Libby Purves 28/7/2014

David Shrubsole coaxes a jazz-infused delight from his lavishly furnished 15-piece band and with few finer companies in town, The Open Air Theatre’s Porgy And Bess is unmissably incisive and thrillingly provocative. Jonathan Baz 31/7/14

The musical landscape Gershwin created to reflect the doomed love affair, between the crippled Porgy and the drug-addled fallen woman, Bess, is legendary. Musical director David Shrubsole has done a remarkable job, with the largest number of musicians ever working at the venue, to reinforce the adventurous nature of the score. This production reminds us how mind blowing Porgy and Bess must have sounded in 1935. Edward Lukes, The London Magazine, 30/7/14 

Under David Shrubsole’s musical direction the cast performs this difficult opera with accuracy, unity and spirit.  Tim Bano, Exeunt 23/8/14

American Psycho

Almeida Theatre

 

And David Shrubsole’s luscious harmonic pileups in his vocal arrangements of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” are standouts.  David Benedict, Variety

The composer of Spring Awakening (one of the great musical theatre scores of the last 20 years) remixes and morphs some familiar 80s tracks into the fabric of his score and Music Director David Shrubsole does super things with vocal arrangements at one point making Palestrina out of the basest pop. Edward Seckerson,

 

So, This Then Is Life

59e59, New York

 

Devised and compiled by David Shrubsole and Simon Green (performed by Simon Green with musical arrangement and accompaniment by David Shrubsole), the work offers a smorgasbord of songs, poetry, and spoken word, using material from such sources as Walt Whitman, Tennessee Williams, Christopher Hitchens, Maya Angelou, Stephen Sondheim, Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer, Duncan Sheik, and many others…This premise is echoed in such offerings as “When I Was One-and-Twenty” by A.E. Housman, and “They Are Not Brave,” by Daphne du Maurier. The latter piece is wonderfully set to music by Shrubsole, who also functions as the show’s musical director… Two songs that particularly stand out are “I Found a Stairway in My Cupboard,” written by Shrubsole, about a middle-aged man presented with a chance to begin a new adventure, if only he has the courage to do so, and the aforementioned “They Are Not Brave.” Judd Hollander, Epoch Times

Rodgers, Hammerstein & Hart

Birmingham Symphony Hall

A mouth-watering concert which also featured action-man conductor David Shrubsole. His own love for the music was obvious, and under his guidance the orchestra excelled throughout. Paul Marston, Birmingham Mail 

Sweeney Todd

West Yorkshire Playhouse

David Shrubsole’s orchestrations have a spartan lucidity, bringing out the score’s folk-ballad roots without losing the brilliant complexity of its interweaving voices - lyricism floating above sinisterly pulsing bass lines. All in all, topping. Kate Bassett, The Times, London 

London Road

National Theatre

The result is a quietly stunning chamber piece, in which talking segues into singing, rather in the way a bird you first see on the ground is suddenly, naturally in flight... As individual, fragmented melody lines converge into group harmonies, the effect is often that of a liturgical choir... The skillful arrangement of sound here (David Shrubsole is the music director and Paul Arditti the sound designer) is equaled by a commanding use of silence. Ben Brantley, New York Times

Alice

Crucible, Sheffield

The scatological repartee of Oliver Birch and John Biddle's Tweedledum and Tweedledee is enthusiastically embraced by younger members of the audience, and composer David Shrubsole's setting of the Lobster Quadrille is a delight. Alfred Hickling, Guardian

Traveling Light

59E59, New York

This entry very well may be the highlight of the Brits Off-Broadway Festival. Accompanied by the masterful David Shrubsole on a beautiful Steinway piano, Green meanders through a couple dozen songs, most of which touch upon the idea of movement and the journey, both literally and metaphorically, of one’s life.

If one piece were missing, the show would feel wanting or lacking. Green and Shrubsole haven’t just thrown together a few standards to the delight of New York cabaret audiences. Theirs is a devotion to stringing together a cohesive tale; their guiding light is that smooth voice and the gentle accompaniment. John Stoltes, The Leader 

Shrubsole includes three poems for which he composed musical settings: "Poem of the Road" by Walt Whitman, "No Alarm on the Flight Deck" by Pam Ayres, and "Going Down Hill on a Bicycle" by Henry Charles Beeching. Each is a gem and smartly executed by Green. Shrubsole's excellent arrangements include an insinuating take on Jerry Herman's "Open a New Window" that puts a contemporary spin on its warmhearted optimism and an inspired pairing of Sondheim's "All Things Bright and Beautiful"  and "Take Me to the World", two rapturous songs in which the singer nevertheless never gets what he wants. Erik Haargensen, Backstage.

David Shrubsole's arrangements and piano accompaniment are inventive and often soaring, bringing a new aspects to songs like Jerry Herman's "Open a New Window." and his lyrics fit neatly with those of Maltby and Shire's Coffee Song.  Elizabeth Ahlfors, Curtain Up

 

Some of the most touching musical moments come in the form of poems set to music. Green's musical director David Shrubsole also has a gift for setting lyrics to lovely melodies; the poems chosen for this evening to be musicalized include ones by Rudyard Kipling, Pam Ayres, and Henry Charles Beeching. Richard Patterson - musicOMH

 

Shrubsole's expert playing is a perfect accompaniment to Green. There is an art to being a good accompanist and Shrubsole is such an artist. He helps Green keep things moving while always being there in support with his consummate skills. David Fuller - NYtheater

...but this show also stirs the intellect with writings and poetry from Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien and others, some of which Green recites and some he sings, thanks to Shrubsole’s inspired musical settings. It’s a special evening. Retta Blaney

 

The multi-talented David Shrubsole also has an extensive resume of arranging, conducting and composition. Here he manages to create music so in accord with the readings and supportive of the essence of the songs (without simply carrying them), you mightn’t notice his great finesse with The American Songbook. It’s easier to hear the originality of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” which has probably never sounded so lyrical, and a completely unexpected gently jazzy arrangement of “Chelsea Morning,” re-coloring the familiar song. His piano touch is fluid and deft; terpsichorean. Alix Cohen - Woman Around Town 

Hello Dolly !

Regent's Park Theatre

 

…credit there is shared with the woodwind playing in David Shrubsole's expert orchestrations, which elsewhere make Philip Bateman's terrific band sound far bigger than its nine players. David Benedict, Variety

Sing For Your Supper

Cadogan Hall

 

Shrubsole’s piano playing and musical direction are both impeccable and witty, his control of the four-strong band precise yet loose-limbed. Sam Marlowe, The Times 

Coward at Christmas

59E59, New York

 

With the consummate assist of David Shrubsole at the piano, Green skirts through twenty of the master's tunes and it's a delightfully heady mix of humor and romanticism. A real revelation is Mr. Shrubsole's discovery in the British Museum of the score for "Couldn't We Keep on Dancing?". It's quite possibly a Coward premiere and the best Christmas present one could ever find. Robert L Daniels, Variety Critic

 

There are far too may Coward jewels for anyone to find all his favorites here, but no one should quarrel with what is on offer in Green’s accomplished singing and Shrubsole’s impressive arrangements and pianism. John Simon, Bloomberg

Green is enormously affecting and effective, no more so than during his recitation of Coward's poem, "On Leaving England for the First Time". This sequence leads into a beautifully arranged medley of "London Pride," "I Travel Alone," and "Sail Away." In this triptych of songs, some theatergoers might find themselves thinking that they are hearing these songs for the first time, as Shrubsole's arrangements are so unique. During the second song, for instance, it almost sounds as if Coward, Green and Shrubsole were channeling Kurt Weill and this composer's "Lonely House" in particular. In "Pride," Shrubsole's arrangement loses some of the "oldness" and almost homespun quality that is usually visited upon the tune. Purists may bristle, but even they may have to soften once they hear Big Ben seemingly chime in the distance (it's a feat accomplished on the piano alone). Shrubsole's arrangements also reference (or at least seem to) composers as far ranging as Burt Bacharach and Stephen Sondheim, which brings them terrifically into the present.  American Theater Web

He's aided greatly by pianist Shrubsole's inventive arrangements, which provide fresh musical spins on material that is too often reduced to mere quaintness. - New York Post

But as much as Coward looked reality in its stern face, an hour spent listening to his songs remains a laugh-out-loud treat, full of surprises. Green and his accompanist David Shrubsole haven't felt duty-bound to stick to Coward's most familiar material: Instead, they turn to lesser-known, gregarious send-ups like the extremely obscure "Three Theatrical Dames," the hilarious lyrics Coward added to Cole Porter's "Let's Do It," a syncopated version of "Someday I'll Find You," and "What's Going to Happen to the Tots?" that pokes fun at the 1920s craze for things like rejuvenating monkey's glands. – TheatreMania 

Music director and accompanist David Shrubsole delivers a virtuoso performance of his innovative arrangements. "A Room With a View" is given an edgy Sondheimesque spin, while Cole Porter's "Let's Do It," using Coward's parody lyric, acquires a 1960s twist beat. – Back Stage 

Romeo and Juliet

Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park

 

The composer David Shrubsole is to be congratulated for augmenting the sensual and sensory atmosphere of the play. At the end, red petals are strewn over the entwined bodies of the sacrificial lambs on the altar, just as birds fly in the gathering night and white, feather – like moths flit around the outdoor auditorium. Magical. The Irish World

The Enchantment

National Theatre

 

He's helped by David Shrubsole's score. Almost immediately upon meeting Louise, he says "Look at me," at which point cello, flute and harp music steals in. This not only sets up his seduction -- which occurs much later, offstage -- but also orchestrates his almost other-worldly power.  – Variety, David Benedict 

 

Paul Miller’s delicate production achieves an illusion of realism by seating the audience on four sides, while using music to convey emotions the words of Clare Bayley’s version can only hint at. – The Sunday Times, Robert Hewlson 

 

This dark, quite disturbing, feminist play, in Clare Bayley’s compelling reworking, poses plenty of provocative and still-topical questions about sexual politics, dual standards and the role of women. It makes good theatre and David Shrubsole’s music, impeccably played live by a cello, harp and flute trio wearing late 19th century black dresses, amplifies the brooding atmosphere. – The Stage, Mark Shenton “

 

Gaslight

Old Vic

Peter Gill directs a superbly judged production, with detailed and oppressive Victorian designs by Hayden Griffin and insidiously creepy music by David Shrubsole. – The Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer 

 

A lot of tension is delivered by David Shrubsole’s spine-tingling music that manages to turn a comedic scene around completely in the blink of an eye. 

Total Eclipse

Meier Chocolate Factory

I enjoyed David Shrubsole's excellent score, which combines 19th-century salon piano with trippy electric guitar in the style of the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. – The Daily Telegraph, Charles Spencer 

 

David Shrubsole's alluring score sets the mood, while setting it in traverse adds a dynamism that might otherwise be lost in some of the more wordy intellectual scenes between the two principals – The Roundtable Review “

 

Paul Wills' sparse set designs, which offer only what is relevant to a scene and no more, assure that David Shrubsole's musical compositions have sufficient space in which to embroider on intentional pauses within the context of the play's action. – London SE1 

The Three Musketeers

Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Stiles and Leigh have created a score that breaks into clarity in the midst of complexity. Stiles’ background music under many scenes is astonishingly powerful, and for this one must also credit the rich, sweeping orchestrations of David Shrubsole. Gatehouse News Service, Sally Applegate 

Orchestrator David Shrubsole, writing for an 11-piece ensemble, gives Stiles' music a fine burnish, with particularly tasteful horn and woodwind details. – Theatre Mania

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’

Crucible, Sheffield


But perhaps the star of the show is the pianist and chief timekeeper of the whole play, David Shrubsole. It is both toe tapping and finger clicking and I guarantee that you will be moving and no doubt grooving in your seat. BBC 

David Shrubsole, the show's musical director, leads a band of eight virtuosi whose artistic harmony, ensemble playing and solos catch the spirit of the more than 20 Waller songs selected. Waller  would have loved the concentrated-but-cool way in which Shrubsole on the piano revitalises the wit and melancholy of unforgettable standards such as 'Black and Blue'.  Thomas Leuchtenmuller The Guardian 

There's something a little strange about a show that bills itself as the "Fats Waller musical" and yet features, centre-stage, a white jazz pianist. Don't get me wrong: David Shrubsole is fantastically assured and extraordinarily industrious; his finger-joints keep jumpin' for more than 90 minutes. And yet he couldn't be furthered removed in looks from the chubby-cheeked, pencil-moustached maestro who grins out at us from those 1920s black and white photos. Where is Fats? The point is forcefully made at Shrubsole's entrance, when he walks across a deserted dancehall, to resounding ghostly whispers, that the best way to evoke the spirit of the man, and the times he moved in, is to play his music. Dominic Cavendish – The Telegraph 

As every new number begins - under the fantastic lead of musical director, onstage pianist and conductor David Shrubsole - there’s an exciting change of pace, switching from jazz to blues, comedy to drama, all presented with the same flair by an outstanding quintet of star performers. Phillip Browne, Enyonam Gbesemete, Akiya Henry, Joel Karie and Nataylia Roni are marvellously accomplished singers and dancers who leave the audience shouting for more. The Stage 

The onstage band are tip-top, led by David Shrubsole who makes his mini-grand sound like a spring shower of rain. Kate Bassett – The Independent 

A Chorus Line

Crucible, Sheffield

In this sparkling new production by Nikolai Foster, with musical direction by David Shrubsole, the show grips right from the opening number, I Hope I Get It, as Jason Durr’s sexy, black-leather-jacketed Zach puts the dancers through their paces. Sam Marlowe - The Times 

© 2018 by David Shrubsole.