reviews for the 2016 edinburgh fringe run:

to do list


'A sublime tearjerker that dares to talk about death.

The show centers around 17 logical ways to manage bereavement and sets up a comedy life-guru style slideshow that is quickly disrupted by central character Bella’s emotional plight. There are touching musical moments, which reminded us of Yann Tiersen’s Amélie soundtrack. Bella Heesom’s straight man to Eva Alexander’s cheeky chap is a perfect pairing and the humour in the show makes it all the sadder. My World has Exploded… braves the ultimate taboo, and made us laugh, cry and help come to terms with our own experiences of death. It’s the ultimate refreshing pause from the frantic fringe, delving into the bitter-sweet truth of what must, one day, happen to us all.'

edinburgh festivals magazine


'“Everyone you know is going to die” is the first lesson the audience are confronted with in this profound and stunning show.'

'The act jumps between lecture and narrative, accompanied by Eva’s wonderful and mischievous piano. The pace of the play and the outstanding performances keep the balance between sadness and comedy perfectly, leaving you laughing and holding back your tears at the same time.

Everything in this act is beautifully crafted, from the music, to the script to the presentation itself. It is a true masterpiece and an absolute pleasure to watch. By far my favourite show of the year, and I suspect it will remain that way for some years to come.'

edinburgh spotlight


'This is an unflinchingly brave show... Heesom herself gives an exceptional performance. She is sweetly vulnerable, disarmingly frank, and her writing is eloquent and witty without losing any of its fragility or rawness.

In a society that pays far less attention to the reality of grief than it should, shows like this are welcome and necessary. We need more radical honesty and honest artistry of the kind that Bella Heesom offers. She has created something very powerful indeed.'

broadway baby


'we are putty in their hands: one moment laughing, the next near to tears... It’s funny, it’s charming, it’s absurd, and it’s very poignant. Highly recommended.'

three weeks


'a show that’s funny, energetic, profound and heartbreaking all at once. There’s so much creative energy here, whether it’s in Heesom’s emotionally exacting retellings of her experiences, or the beautiful pencil illustrations that accompany them.'

'it’s brave, and honest, and it makes an emotional connection that’ll stay with you.'

tv bomb


'brave, personal and moving... simultaneously inspiring and honest'

the scotsman

'this is a genuinely valuable – and surprisingly enjoyable – piece of work that could prove useful to a great many people if it reaches the larger audience it deserves.'


reviews of 2015 camden fringe run


Views From The Gods


'The multimedia aspect to this production is absolutely stunning, but the real power comes from Heesom's performance. She constantly switches back and forth between grief-stricken and light-hearted, with an unbelievable breakneck speed. She slips her glasses back on and is suddenly the calm lecturer, rather than the upset and raging child, but as an audience, we're still busy bawling our eyes out, we can't keep up with her shift in emotion. Director Donnacadh O'Briain helps Heesom channel what is patently a very real sense of loss and anger and manage to turn it off and on with the sort of ease that shouldn't be possible. The only plausible explanation is that she's some kind of superhuman, or at the very least, a highly accomplished actress.

Very early into the show, my chest ached. I began to physically hurt, reacting to Heesom's raw, visceral performance, the impact of her words so forceful. And I'll admit it willingly - I cried. It's a cathartic experience.

Heesom's world may have exploded, but she's managed to carefully put all the pieces back together again and blow them up in front of us, for maximum devastation. By the end of the show, you'll find yourself thinking if Heesom can carry on, if she can smile again, there is hope. A truly inspirational and breathtakingly beautiful piece of theatre - a must-see.'


London City Nights


‘the show quickly demonstrates a nimble self-awareness that allows the tone to vary wildly while maintaining a narrative and thematic throughline. Contrasting emotions clash up against one another: moments of deeply felt misery pricked by a comic flourish or upbeat bit of narration. 

'...Heesom's performance - it hits like a freight train... Heesom gradually peels back all the layers of artifice, arriving at a white hot ball of confusion, anger and self-loathing, which explodes in a climax that's spinetingling in its raw honesty.’

‘My World Has Exploded A Little Bit is an undeniably powerful piece of theatre. Death is an incredibly weighty subject to tackle, but Heesom approaches it with a perceptive, clear-eyed intelligence. All around me audience members were sniffling and dabbing their eyes - their reaction not caused by sentimental manipulation, but by hard-earned, keenly felt pathos.’


Life In the Cheap seats

‘I’ll repeat what she says. We are all going to die. I am going to die. You are going to die. Everyone you know is going to die. But for some reason, it still seems like a surprise, in part (I think) because humans don’t like to think about mortality. But it’s really helpful to do so; partially because (as per the advice given in this show) it lets you respond better when you have to deal with it… but more because it lets you live your life in a way that maximizes the greatest of gifts: the time you have to spend with people you love.’


audience reviews from 2016


Rob Hindle

'This is a beautiful and moving theatre experience. A lovely mix of top notch and clever comedy with pathos and heart stopping story telling. A very special show... thank you.'

esther fowler

'Great show - funny, entertaining and extraordinarily touching - laughed and cried the whole way through.'

rosie ball

'Such an emotional experience... I would guarantee that anyone human would find this very memorable and heart stirring indeed. And I have certainly taken away some wise advice. Thank you.'

neil warner

'Wonderfully written and performed. Moving and heart warming. This piece deserves to be seen and gain higher recognition.'

mark speed

'Recommended by my neighbours, who were really moved by this captivating performance, as was I. A very difficult subject is handled deftly. It's heartbreaking, heartwarming, life-affirming and funny. Wonderful production values, and deserves - as my neighbours said - to be on a really big stage.'

clare dixon

'Wow! Such a moving and uplifting show - I laughed and cried. Superb acting, clever and sensitively portrayed concept and most of all, fantastically entertaining. Thank you. See it if you can!'

judy durrant

'Very moving, lively, engaging and thought provoking show, go see it before the end of the festival.'

jon wainwright

'Great show!

...I was in two minds whether to see this show, but the company's name, Natural Shocks, hinted at a humanist and philosophical depth beneath the surreal silliness and I wasn't disappointed on either count.

...if there's one essential takeaway message from this existential odyssey, it's this: Do not tip the urinal (as the demonstration makes clear!).'


click here to see audience feedback on twitter

We couldn't fit all the lovely tweets on this page!

audience tweets:

Oliver Wellington ‏@omwellington  Standing outside completely stunned by the beautiful and life-affirming #MyWorldHasExplodedALittleBit @BellaHeesom I can't praise it enough

Jon Brittain ‏@jonbrittain  Really affected by @BellaHeesom's wonderful show My World Has Exploded a Little Bit at @FollowTheCow. Heartbreaking and visceral and funny.

The RSC ‏@TheRSC  Literary team saw this directed by @donnacadhob aka #AlwaysOrange director-few dry eyes + standing ovation!#edfringe

Mark ‏@markzoomy  If you're at #edfringe, you HAVE to see #MyWorldExploded by @BellaHeesom w/ @alexandereva00. Completely floored me and shook me to my soul.

Crazy Bird ‏@BirdCarol1  #myworldexploded So the show on Tuesday, beautiful, emotional, poignant, personal. Thought provoking, it will make you laugh and cry.

Nicky Marr ‏@nickymarr  1/2 It's Festival time! 3 shows so far this pm. Highlights are #myworldexploded - a warm, open and insightful guide to managing mortality...

Sarah Griffin ‏@TheSarahGriffin #MyWorldExploded by @BellaHeesom is far and away the best thing I have seen at the Fringe. Go. See it. Amazing piece of theatre. #Edinburgh

Christopher Lawson ‏@chris_lawson_85  Last edfringe tips: #MyWorldExploded was amazing, gutted wrenching material presented exceptionally well and with balance. Take tissues

Jo Mousley ‏@MouseyMousedale  @BellaHeesom thankyouthankyouthankyou #myworldexploded @FollowTheCow deeply honestly bravely tenderly humanly definitely worth a watch <3

Kate O'Connor ‏@TheCelloProject Go and see #MyWorldExplodedALittleBit @BellaHeesom Such a funny, philosophical exploration of loss - we laughed and cried in equal measure!

Sam Brooks ‏@sbrookbrooks  Everyone at #edfringe needs to go see #myworldexploded - the most brutally honest depiction of the realities of grief I've ever seen.

Jonathan Chamberlain ‏@jyc_gowlingwlg  Must-see #edfringe ? #myworldexploded :grief raw and angry but beautiful & filled with hope & joy & love.To see it is to connect.A privilege

Olivia Race ‏@livracey  Blown away by the beauty and power of #myworldexploded @BellaHeesom - an unmissable show this august

Karl James ‏@2plus2makes5  A most human way to end the Fringe. Sitting with my 15 year old son, watching work that was both personal and purposeful #myworldhasexploded

Karl James ‏@2plus2makes5 @BellaHeesom Thank you. Craft, care and skill (rare qualities but even when present not enough). What made it, was that it was yours.

Miss Gika HA ‏@GikaMiss  Just saw the heartbreakingly beautiful My World Has Exploded A Little Bit at the Fringe- def recommend! So great! #myworldexploded #edfringe

Atko ‏@sophieatko  My #edfringe absolute must-see recommendation is #myworldexploded - expect to sob uncontrollably and laugh in the same breath. Incredible.

Rosie Williamson ‏@SingingRosieLee  #MyWorldExploded @BellaHeesom is a brutally honest, raw account of the schizophrenic nature of bereavement. Amazing.

Paula Baldwin ‏@KnitPaula  #edfringe heartbreaking and funny. Now have puffy face and no tissues left.... #myworldexploded

Adam Small ‏@AdamSmally  #myworldexploded is a phenomenal piece of theatre. Fact. Don't question why. Just go and experience all the feels in @BellaHeesom's magic.

Jenny Sturt ‏@JRSturt  @Che__Boludo_ @Rhi_ntw thanks for the recommendation guys. #myworldexploded was brilliant, generous and provoking. #rhysrecommends #enpointe

Lindsey Sharp ‏@linz14865  @edfringe #myworldexploded. My World Has Exploded a Little Bit -Saw show yesterday, moving, funny and fabulously executed. Take a hankie.

Fiona Steed ‏@Fiona_Steed  #myworldexploded was so beautiful and brave. Will be thinking about that one for many days to come.

The HandleBards ‏@HandleBards  Go see @BellaHeesom in 'My World has exploded a little bit' dark comedy coupled with an honest, compelling performance and story! Brilliant!

Rhys Lawton ‏@Draull  Go and see #myworldexploded @edfringe by @BellaHeesom. No excuses. Just go. Amazing, moving, stunning.

Harriet Olins ‏@HarrietOlins  @BellaHeesom what a warm and cool show. WARM is in human + funny + silly + poetic. COOL as in unafraid to be real!! Your show rocks!!!!

Emma Tompkins ‏@EmmaTompkins  Back at underbelly, welling up from cleverly told stories about grief & mortality. #Myworldexploded gave me warmth & honesty in bundles.

Bea Roberts ‏@bea_roberts  #MyWorldExploded @BellaHeesom @donnacadhob is so honest and human, totally beautiful and incredibly moving. Wow. Congratulations! X

FrontRoomProductions ‏@FrontRoomProd  We were incredibly moved by @BellaHeesom in #myworldexploded - an absolute gem of this year's @edfringe

James Sidwell ‏@jamessidwell7  Saw @BellaHeesom 's show #myworldexploded yesterday. Such a beautiful piece, congratulations to all involved! :D #edfringe @donnacadhob

NHSGGCPalliativeCare ‏@palliativeggc if you only see one #Edfringe show this year you'll resent the train fare but #myworldexploded well worth it #DeathOnTheFringe

Rhian Lewis ‏@Rhi_ntw  #myworldexploded is heartbreaking, beautiful, quirky. And now I want to ring my Mam and Dad. Loved every second. @FollowTheCow #edfringe

Letty Butler ‏@LettyButler  Everyone at #edfringe has to see #myworldexploded by @BellaHeesom Bold, beautiful, heartbreaking & yet incredibly life affirming. Unmissable

Pint-Sized ‏@Pint_Sized_   #myworldexploded by @BellaHeesom is deeply, profoundly, heart-breakingly brilliant. See it now at @FollowTheCow edfringe

Jacqueline Crooks ‏@Luidas
Not ashamed to say I cried.  Brave, exploratory, no holds barred performance @BellaHeesom #MyWorldHasExplodedALittleBit
Melissa Dunne ‏@papercuttheatre
Well my goodness! #myworldexploded was almost unbearably moving and funny amazing work from @BellaHeesom & @donnacadhob
Erin SandersMcDonagh ‏@erinsandersmcd
@blue_stocking @BellaHeesom I barely held it together. It was certainly some of the best theatre I've seen in the last few years.
Lucy Neville ‏@blue_stocking
So,saw #myworldhasexplodedalittlebit last night- @erinsandersmcd had to lend me a sock to use as a hankie I was crying so hard @BellaHeesom
CindyJane Armbruster ‏@cjarmbruster
Last night I saw @BellaHeesom's #MyWorldHasExplodedALittleBit with @naomi_jw - best show I've seen in a while!
CindyJane Armbruster ‏@cjarmbruster
To expand: #MyWorldHasExplodedALittleBit by&with @BellaHeesom (&equally brilliant Esh) is thought-provoking, intelligent &moving. #MustSee
Naomi Westerman ‏@naomi_jw
#MyWorldJustExplodedALittleBit - extraordinary exploration of grief. Dealing with death of a parent is so singularly horrifying @BellaHeesom
John Link ‏@JohnLinkArtist
Saw @bellaheesom ‘my world has exploded a little bit’ @TristanBates moving and funny utterly brilliant don’t miss- go this week!
Camden Fringe ‏@CamdenFringe
Today's @FringeReview MUST SEE Hot Ticket is: My World Has Exploded a Little Bit by @BellaHeesom
Shona Catherine ‏@shona_catherine
Just seen @BellaHeesom and @eshalladi in #MyWorldHasExplodedALittleBit. My chest hurts. Best thing I've seen so far in #CamdenFringe.
Brian Coyle ‏@brianscoyle
Thanks @BellaHeesom #myworldexploded is achingly moving, honest and had me in complete bits. An experience not to be missed. @TristanBates