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Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life

Performed by Keith Alessi

Directed by Erika Conway

Micro Tour 2024 Produced by CaroleW Productions


An award-winning, inspirational true story


Originating in North America, this inspirational true story of overcoming obstacles, pursuing passions, and the healing power of music has delighted international audiences. Following successful runs at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Soho Playhouse, New York and the North East in 2023, this is an exclusive chance to see the show before it heads to Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2024.

Keith Alessi was a well-known CEO running a company in Canada when he received a deadly cancer diagnosis. This event served as a catalyst for him to learn to play the banjo, a long-deferred passion. He ultimately found physical and emotional healing in a circle of musicians and this show tells that story. His journey to the stage was an improbable one.

This award-winning inspirational story will be returning to the North East & Cumbria for four special performances.

July 2024


  • Find out more about this inspirational one-man show from the lovely folk at North East Theatre Guide.

  • Dave Whetstone at The QT caught up with Keith to discuss the heartwarming show he’s bringing back to the North East this July.



"Keith Alessi takes two unlikely ingredients and whips up a one-man show to make you think, smile and – if you’re Sam Wonfor – reach for that dusty saxophone in the wardrobe."

Cultured North East

"Finger-picking good"
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reviews Hub

“Keith Alessi delivers a poignant message of resilience, hope and endurance we all need to hear right now.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Broadway Baby

“A heart-warming show which is much needed at present.”
British Theatre Guide


Find out what Keith had to say about Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me... when he spoke to the people at NE Volume (page 40-41). 


Find out more about the show from our friends at, North East Theatre Guide and The Hexham Courant.

Watch as Keith Alessi talked to Hexham TV about his 2023 tour:


Production shots by Tom Hall:

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