Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh bring their cleverly crafted take on life in their 20s to the MICF stage in ‘Very Mature’

Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh bring their cleverly crafted take on life in their 20s to the MICF stage in ‘Very Mature’

Words by Chloe Waddell

If you're in your 20s, ever have been or you ever will be, this is the perfect 'how-to' guide. Or rather, the ultimate 'how-not-to' guide.

Dressed to impress and armed with a fresh set of comedic material, Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh have certainly made their presence in the comedy-scene known, at this year’s prestigious Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF).

The duo opened their first of four shows at this year’s festival on Thursday 25 March, bringing their cleverly crafted take on life in their 20s to the stage in Very Mature. With opening night sold out, the intimate venue at Mantra on Russell was filled with those keen to hear what these lads had to say. This show was advertised as being an “ultimate how-not-to guide”, and from Ethan’s hairdressing woes to Sweeney’s fourth year in a three-year degree, the gig served to bring moments of both highs and lows of young adulthood to the front of our minds, for the time these men were on stage.

The show was designed in such a way that both performers were afforded uninterrupted time on stage, showcasing their own individual styles, but they also had a chance to come together for back-and-forth banter. Their year off between shows did not seem to dampen their enthusiasm, with the pair’s energy on stage being evident.

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Sweeney Preston delivers a fast-paced, high energy performance. Going from material around his vegan diet to then giving an impression of a clock naturally sounds like an unusually difficult task, however Sweeney’s stage presence took the crowd along on the ride with him, and left everyone with a smile on their face at the end of the night. Even able to take a microphone-induced injury in his stride, after being simply too enthused for his set, Sweeney seems a natural performer on stage.

Ethan Cavanagh has a way of storytelling that draws you in and leaves you wanting more. His ability to commandeer the room was clear, as he went from discussing his mother’s very unique ‘flair’ for cooking, to rightfully questioning the ambiguous “feels like” weather-app feature. For someone his age, Ethan’s comedic delivery is – appropriately – very mature, and had me laughing right throughout. Put simply, Ethan pulls you into his world and makes you laugh out loud, and that really is a job well done.

Sweeney and Ethan began their planned six-month national tour of Very Mature in Tasmania in early 2020, resulting in a sold-out set of gigs for the pair. Their return to Melbourne was greeted with a sold-out opening night for their MICF appearances, however their act was one of the many casualties of COVID, cutting their six-month tour short. Restrictions-permitting, the duo are hoping to continue the national tour of their show following MICF, so if you are unable to see them in Melbourne, keep an eye out for tickets in your state.

If you are looking for an easy-watch comedy gig, an excuse to get out and about, and a chance to laugh some of the trials and tribulations of life in those awkward years of your early twenties, this is the gig for you.

So, who are the men behind the show?

Sweeney Preston is a Melbourne-based comedian, who both writes and hosts a regular podcast, Serious News Hour, which is anything but. He graced the MICF stage in 2019, and before that was selected to be part of Melbourne Uni’s Law Revue. In 2019, Sweeney won both the Melbourne Uni Comedy Competition, and Most Promising Live Act at MUDFEST, however he believes his best gig to date was the “closing night of Very Mature during our Hobart tour in January 2020”.

Ethan Cavanagh is one of regional Victoria’s fine exports, beginning his comedy career in Ballarat, and both living and working across Ballarat and the surf-coast region before moving to Melbourne. Ethan co-founded and regularly MC’s Up Next Comedy, a regular comedy night aiming to showcase fresh, young talent. In 2017, Ethan was a State Finalist in RAW Comedy, and prior to that, was National Runner-Up in Class Clowns in 2015.

Sweeney and Ethan both started out their careers with Class Clowns, a MICF competition and program to provide young and aspiring comedians with the opportunity to workshop and develop skills.

Very Mature runs from 25 to 28 March 2021, at Mantra on Russell. Limited tickets remain, ranging from $17 – $22, and can be purchased here.