By Shawn Reilly Simmons
Hold The Tomato is a comedy variety show featuring sketches, songs, and improv, written by Nancy Safavi and David Stauffer, and composed by Wesley Fox. We’re introduced to the Hot and Sweaty Theater Troupe, a group of Disney Kids gone bad, who have no choice but to perform their off-the-wall and not always appropriate comedy after hours and underground to please the Disney bosses. The premise is set from the beginning, and we know we’re in for an absurd and fun ride.
The beginning of the show features a series of sketches, each with sharp dialogue, prompting lots of laughs from the audience. The sketches are a good length, none of them dragging on too long, which can be the death of a comedy show. The scene changes were quick, accompanied by a warbling version of a Disney-like tune.
The sketches ranged from quite funny to mildly amusing and were all entertaining in some way. My favorites were Santa’s reindeer attempting to form a union (I had no idea Donner was a Vietnam Veteran, and that Vixen hated his “girly” reindeer name…), and the Nihilist News, which was very well written and performed. There’s something highly entertaining about cheerful news, sports, and weather reporters explaining how bleak and meaningless life really is in between providing sports scores and warnings about cold fronts.
The second half of the show was a set of really well-presented improv. I was impressed by the quick thinking of the performers, and how much the entire crew seemed to be enjoying themselves. Hold the Tomato and the Hot and Sweaty troupe offer a unique and fun energy that they share with the audience, and you might even get to throw a tomato or two!
Running Time: About 75 minutes.