“Atomic Comic,” a “human cartoon fantasia,” according to creator Sara Toby Moore, features, from left, Colin Johnson, Moore and DeMarcello Funes. (Courtesy Kenna Lindsay) 

In “Atomic Comic,” a clown (Sara Toby Moore) hit with a triple whammy — the death of her beloved father, a frightening cancer diagnosis and a breakup from her lover — uses comedic tools and instincts to heal herself, with the help of her community.

Moore, the star and mastermind of the 80-minute autobiographical show onstage at Z Space in San Francisco, creates what she terms a “human cartoon fantasia” to capture her COVID-era emotional roller coaster with hyperbole.  

At times, her mobile face registers fear and vulnerability; at others, she is exultant.   

In an operatic number that calls to mind some of the late Sid Caesar’s most memorable acts, Moore lip-synchs an aria from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” only, at the end, to be pelted with marshmallows that were distributed to the audience (with directions not to eat). 

Directed by Sean Owens, the show has its share of zaniness, but the opening homage to slapstick falls short. The play also has quieter comic moments, such as when television star Sharon Gless appears onscreen as Moore’s Zoom therapist, dispensing professional advice, yet offering a surprising revelation later in the encounter.  

Sharon Gless appears on Zoom, playing a therapist. Courtesy Sharon Gless) 

Sharon Shao as Moore’s clown-phobic social worker also breaks out of her restraints to earn her red nose, join the merriment and display her vocal skills. Colin H. Johnson and DeMarcello Funes are musicmaking members of Moore’s comic trio; Maureen McVerry and George Maguire appear onscreen in cameo performances. 

Sharon Shao joins the action in “Atomic Comic.” (Courtesy Kenna Lindsay) 

Moore could amp up the emotional aspects of the story and sharpen some comic elements. As it is, “Atomic Comic” is an interesting reminder of the dark days of the pandemic and the energy needed to survive — not only a virus by also other difficult times.    

Atomic Comic: A Human Cartoon Fantasia” continues at 8 p.m. July 6-8 at Z Space, 450 Florida St., San Francisco. Tickets are $20-$55. Visit https://www.zspace.org/atomic-comic.