Sandwich Artist

Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

06/03/2024 - 09/03/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Created / Written by Phoebe Caldeiro and Jack McGee

Squash Co Arts Collective

Sammy is a small town girl with big sandwich dreams. When she drops everything to move to Wellington and open her own restaurant, those dreams are tested to their limits. It’s hard to get by as an artist, and she’s going to need a lot of help from her friends.

Sandwich Artist is an original musical by Phoebe Caldeiro (Dr Drama Makes a Musical, When Booty Calls) and Jack McGee (Long Ride Home, Music Sounds Better Out Here). For this development season, we’ve condensed it into a single hour, bursting at the seams with energy, massive emotions, fresh spinach, and mayonnaise.

Sandwich Artist
at Tapere Nui, Te Auaha as a part of the NZ Fringe Festival
6th – 9th March 2024
6 pm
Book here:–development-season

Sandwich Artist will feature performances from Phoebe Caldeiro, Anna Barker, Catherine
Gavigan, Dylan Hutton and Julia Bon-McDonald.
Directed by Emma Katene.
Written by Phoebe Caldeiro and Jack McGee
Music by Phoebe Caldeiro
Produced by Jack McGee
Production Design by Kate Anderson.
Marketing and Publicity by Abby Lyons
Stage Management by Angela Pelham

Musical , Theatre ,

60 minutes

Feel the heartbreak, soul searching and unmistakeable hunger …

Review by Talia Carlisle 08th Mar 2024

Can the perfect sandwich change your life?

This is food for thought in The Sandwich Artist by Squash Co Arts Collective which opened at Te Auaha last night, labelled “the best new musical since sliced bread”.

With every sandwich pun, Disney Channel-level heart throb and opportunity to squeeze out High School Musical choreography from the mustard jar, the show doesn’t miss a beet.

The most important pickle is, of course: How do you make the perfect sandwich? Do you include mayo, aioli or hummus? The ingredient you need is passion, as cleverly demonstrated by our lead sandwich artist Sammy, played by co-creator and writer Phoebe Caldeiro.

Writer/Creator/Sandwich maker duo Phoebe and Jack McGee have created magic for all of the senses on stage with Phoebe’s beautiful original music that follows Sammy’s quest to make the perfect sandwich. The purpose of the quest and show definitely delivers – which is “to make people happy”.

The angelic voices of Phoebe and fellow actors Anna Barker, Catherine Gavigan and Julia Bon-McDonald lift our spirits from the start – where we float into the dreamy world of creamy mayo inside a small-town sandwich shop. Sammy’s quest is interrupted by the country’s top sandwich expert, played by Julia Bon-McDonald, who has a beautiful booming command of the sandwich world and the stage as a representative of Sandwich New Zealand – The Produce Commission. 

Undeterred by Julia’s banger of a solo, ‘Why Should I Care?’, Sammy battles her obstacles to show “how hard we’ve worked for our dreams,” inspiring and uniting the audience and fellow produce sellers along the way on their own little quest, not unlike The Wizard of Oz, but with a pet chicken instead.

My favourite line of the show is delivered with smooth yet dangerous charm by Catherine as Cam the carrot grower, somewhat daringly. “That’s my carrot”, she says un-nonchalantly, of her perfect crop which is described as “crispy and sweet, the right amount of everything.”

Along with the excellent comedic timing of Dylan Hutton as Bready Brad – and his great voice we would love to have heard more of – we have a dream team. I love every bit of banter from Dylan, every facial expression of Julia, and every philosophical moment of doubt from Phoebe and Catherine. They take the packed audience along for the ride – and make us hungry along the way.

The comedic physicality of Anna Barker as Barb shines through, while the deliciousness of the show is so strong I note the audience’s enthusiastic reactions. There are cheers, laughs, awws and many claps, and not just a squeal or tummy rumble but more than one fart, I regret to tell you – not mine I swear.

Not only famous in the Fringe Festival sandwich world, Phoebe is legendary for musical and comedy creations including When Booty Calls, Dr Drama Makes a Musical, and the upcoming Wellington Repertory new musical Pip

This star-studded sandwich swooning cast holds all the right ingredients, guided by director Emma Katene and produced by co-creator and writer Jack McGee, whose sparkles shine on the stage as bright as the sandwiches and artwork by the talented production designer Kate Anderson. It’s symbolic of the whole idea and show, which is to me, a work of art. 

Not one to scoff at, it’s an important question – how do you make the perfect sandwich? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since Wishbone closed forever last year and I never got to say goodbye to my trusty chicken mayo gluten-free sandwich. It’s making me emotional just thinking about it.

Audiences too will feel the heartbreak, the soul searching and unmistakeable hunger of seeking out your destiny, not knowing what lays ahead (don’t forget to watch out for those chickens…). 

Forget pina coladas and fish ‘n’ chips. The Sandwich Artist will make you smack your lips. The songs will feed your soul I’m sure. With two nights left, there isn’t any more. 


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