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Lawrence Leung makes stopping for a sandwich perfectly worthwhile

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As any Subway wrap artist can tell you, a good sandwich- like a good comedy show- needs layers, substance and not too much cheese. Lawrence Leung manages to deliver all necessary elements in The Man Who Stopped for a Sandwich at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

From the moment Leung bounces on stage, he is all smiles and enthusiasm and as an audience member you are instantly on side. This show, he tells us, is about ‘fate, coincidences…and sandwiches’. Naturally.

Whilst the subject matter may sound lighter than cos lettuce in a BLT, the content Leung tackles has bite. Exploring the cause and effect relationship of events, from the historically significant (the birth of Hitler) to the everyday (Leung’s ‘feline apathy’) which all lead us where we are today.

Audiences may recognise Leung through his appearances on Australian television, including Offspring, Maximum Choppage and most recently hosting ABC’s Catalyst. And he is clearly comfortable in a presenter type role. Clicker in hand, he guides the audience through a slideshow featuring his own travel pics, his family and 1989 Neighbours clips of vintage racism- all to explain why he has ended up pet-less.

Leung delves into the concept of ‘sandwiches of destiny’ via historical figures including Franz Ferdinand and American immigration policy.He intersperses these musings with audience interaction, forcing us to question the concept of free will through a makeshift ‘Choose your own adventure’ activity, and an experiment (which is really just an opportunity for Leung to show off his magic skills).

Like any good sandwich maker, Leung caters to all tastes by acknowledging that there may be a percentage of people who expected dick jokes from a comedy festival show. And he delivers accordingly, showing photos of his dad’s reaction to Fathers Day card thanking him for not ‘wanking him out of existence.’

Like a good mayonnaise, Leung shows great consistency throughout the show. The varied topics feel connected thanks to the overarching sandwich theme and as a result, The Man Who Stopped for a Sandwich never veers into white bread territory. 

By Nicole Ryan