Presentation is Everything

Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki St, Wellington

07/03/2023 - 12/03/2023

NZ Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details

Artists: Ethan Cavanagh and Sweeney Preston

The antidote to every bland lecture, dull pitch and boring work presentation you’ve ever had to endure. Direct from Australia, Presentation is Everything is an hour of fast-paced stand-up comedy, visually complemented through the medium of Microsoft PowerPoint.

Written and performed by two of Melbourne’s fastest-rising and extravagantly overdressed comedians, Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh, this show is packed with slides full of images, news cut-outs, maps, animations and (you guessed it) graphs to punctuate their quick-witted stand-up.

After sell-out seasons at Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney Fringe and having become the youngest comics to be given a monthly residency at Melbourne’s famous Comedy Republic, Sweeney and Ethan are touring New Zealand for the first time.

Armed with outfits they can’t afford and a .ppt file they can’t attach to an email, this is a show where presentation truly is everything.

Between them, Sweeney and Ethan have performed at The Festival Club (MICF), The Cape Town Comedy Club (South Africa), Laughing Spree (Germany), Crash & Burn Comedy (Ireland) and Comedy At The Espy (MICF).

Hashigo Zake, 25 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Tuesday 07/03 to Sunday 12/03/2023

Comedy , Theatre ,

55 min

More than just a snappy PowerPoint slide show

Review by Nicholas Holm 11th Mar 2023

As you might expect with a show called Presentation is Everything, this is an hour of comedy that knows how to conduct itself with style.

This isn’t just the luxurious velvet tuxedos, or the beautifully executed slide transitions though. No, it’s also the sheer charisma of Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh, skilful practitioners of the burgeoning art of PowerPoint comedy: an ever-growing trend in contemporary stand-up, where comedians complement their set with a skilfully crafted slide show. [More]


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Proof that Power has a Point gets the room buzzing

Review by Talia Carlisle 09th Mar 2023

A haze of vape smoke lingers mysteriously outside the towering pillars of Hashigo Zake, while smooth jazz music and two tall gentlemen in tailored suits linger coolly by the entrance.

I am suddenly transformed into Alice descending into Wonderland, sneaking down, down, down the stairs towards a secret room I am directed to by another mysterious man dressed in black.

I have a secret mission – to decipher the PowerPoint comedy stylings of Sweeney Preston and Ethan Cavanagh yet to be revealed.

I will hastily admit that until tonight I did not realise the power that PowerPoint comedy held over humanity, or the popularity of these slideshow presentations in and outside a classroom. But out of excitement for this new discovery in the form of tonight’s Fringe show Presentation is Everything, it has appeared from nowhere into everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

Upon discussing my amazing ‘discovery’ with friends, family, and several people off the street, I even discover a niche for ‘PowerPoint parties’, where guests bring the silliest, worst made PowerPoint presentations to laugh about over an entire evening.

That’s right, an entire evening of PowerPoint! That my friends, is what I am about to experience, and you are coming along for the ride.

And so I take my seat past the suede suit-wearers and the secret curtains, on an uncomfortable wooden stool crammed between hipster blazers and un-hipster polo shirts, in Hashigo Zake’s Taranaki St Lounge ready for… we still have no idea what to expect on tonight’s mission.

The suede suit-wearers, and show’s co-stars themselves it turns out, are also completing a mission that started at 3am they tell us, which has taken them from Melbourne, Australia, after 12 months of touring, to the blistering winds of Wellington to deliver such an important message as about to be revealed to us. This. Very. Minute.

And choo choo, we arrive at tonight’s topic: Maryborough Railway Station in Australia. That’s right. A five-star architectural wonder on Tripadvisor, in a Queensland town boasting 15,000 residents and esteemed visitors including… you guessed it, Sweeney and Ethan!

Despite the many Wellington References of Te Papa, The Cable Car, and the contaminated Bucket Fountain on Cuba St, these Aussies are determined to promote Maryborough Railway Station as the go to, top rated attraction and our most discussed topic of this evening, improved even further (they hope) by their enthusiastic budget PowerPoint-making skills and helpful graphs. What more could you want from a Fringe show? Seriously!

Other topics include Anthropology (old stuff), pretending to be a gay couple on live radio, and an accidental pregnant couple photoshoot – all of which have been tactics to promote this popular touring show and its predecessors.

I am unsure at this point why the show didn’t use Microsoft PowerPoint to promote itself, if the medium is as important as our co-stars emphasise.

There are fabulous costumes, budget projected effects and the iconic show-stopping melody that is the dial-up internet soundbite. Yet somehow I still struggle to get onboard this train that is sure PowerPoint will change the world.

I also struggle to see how they missed two great opportunities here: to discuss Sweeney’s murder mystery worthy moustache and the opportunity to perform this show at a train station.

With the rest of the room buzzing, I turn on my TV reporter mode after the show to ask my fellow audience members what got them fired up about Presentation is Everything. I ask… “Well, is it?”

“It’s perfect for all the Government workers in Wellington – we love PowerPoints!” says one theatre-goer on this cool Tuesday night.

“They’re so charming,” beams another smitten audience member.

“We loved it!” says the hipster blazer. You get the point.

And so you have it. Is it a dove? Is it a train? No it’s the Sweeney and Ethan Showbiz Sparkle. And proof that you should dress to impress, and that Power has a Point.

So tomorrow I’m wearing my sequin blazer to work, and I might even give PowerPoint a second chance.

Maybe you should too.

You can see Sweeney and Ethan in Presentation is Everything AND The Late Nite PowerPoint Comedy Showcase, this week only. So hit the tracks because this train is leaving the station and, just like the residents of Maryborough – and some people I talk to on the street – you too will find something worth getting very, very excited about. Choo choo.


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