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Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life

Performed by Keith Alessi

Directed by Erika Conway

Produced by CaroleW Productions


A joke tellin’, banjo playin’, heart healin’ experience


Originating in North America, this inspirational true story of overcoming obstacles, pursuing passions, and the healing power of music has delighted international audiences. This is an exclusive North East tour following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Playhouse in New York.

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 exclusively touring the North East of England this Spring fresh from a successful run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Soho Playhouse in New York.



"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) and Gilly Hope at BBC Radio Newcastle (1hr 48mins in). 


Find out more about the show from our friends at NE Volume Magazine, The Crack Magazine, NARC Magazine and the Hexham Courant.

Watch as Keith Alessi talks to Hexham TV about his upcoming tour:



North East Tour Dates & Venues





April 2023

* These dates are presented as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme.

Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me Publicity Landscape 2-Photo Cred-Lauren Hamm_edited.jpg

Photo by Lauren Hamm

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