The Not Quite Quartet

The Not Quite Quartet is confusingly named. They’re not even a trio: this is just a pair of guys performing musical comedy, interspersed with audience interaction that’s almost standup comedy. In fact, it often feels like a one-man comedy show with a guitarist brought in for the musical segments. Dale Campbell is described as a ‘reclusive, selective mute’ on the duo’s website: he’s certainly got no quibbles about playing his guitar(s) skilfully in front of the crowd, but he refuses to speak to us at all. It’s a gimmick that would be funny if it weren’t so unexplained.

Their show is called ‘Responsible Adult’. It’s about having kids and attempting to take life a little more seriously, although some fey material about movie spoilers and having an ex-girlfriend-turned-pornstar unbalances this somewhat. The comedy is intermittently funny; frontman Ricky Tart narrows down his audience by talking extensively about fatherhood and marriage, but he’s a friendly performer who establishes a connection with his audience. Campell’s loitering presence on the stage at these points never fails to feel odd. He smiles at Tart’s jokes and whispers comments to him, as if he is the puppet to Tart’s ventriloquist.

An improvised song linked together by three audience suggestions falls fairly flat, perhaps due to the volatile suggestion of ‘Scottish Independence’ as one subject alongside ‘car-crime’ and ‘cash for gold’ scams. Where the pair really shine is in a song called ‘Sadistic Statistics’, made up entirely of disturbing facts Tart has discovered online. It shifts up and down gears, as he moves between singing, spoken word segments and full-on rap, moving away from the statistics to ruminate rhythmically on death, fatherhood and nature. The song almost becomes deep, but Tart always breaks the would-be poignant moments with misdirection and subversion of audience expectations.

The only time Campell’s ‘mute’ trick really pays off is at the end of the show, when he is attached to a harmonica-holder with a difference. The screen of an iPhone, held in place in front of his mouth, shows a beatboxing set of lips, while on either side of the duo a pair of iPads display Ricky Tart’s comedic face joining in with harmonies. It’s a very clever segment that pushes the bounds of their act and actually makes them something different.

The pair save their best material for last, which builds the show up nicely, but the relative weakness of the early songs and the odd vibes the duo exude together on stage mean that The Not Quite Quartet’s hour is engaging and individual, but inconsistent.

Reviews by Larry Bartleet

Underbelly, Cowgate

Jessie Cave: I Loved Her

★★★★★
Summerhall

Abacus

★★★★
Summerhall

Confirmation

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Neil Henry's Magical Mindsquirm

★★★★
Laughing Horse @ Finnegan's Wake

Martha McBrier: Pigeon Puncher

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Take a musical maestro, blend with spontaneous comedy, inject wit and intelligence and you get The Not Quite Quartet, a duo of unforgettable, unforgivable talent! 'Brilliant' (GetComedy.com). 'The Laughs - and awe - just kept coming!’ **** (ThreeWeeks).

Most Popular See More

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets