reviews for the 2016 edinburgh fringe run:
'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.'
'“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.'
'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.'
'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.'
'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.'
'brave, personal and moving... simultaneously inspiring and honest'
'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
'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.'
‘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.’
‘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 edfringe.com 2016
'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.'
'Great show - funny, entertaining and extraordinarily touching - laughed and cried the whole way through.'
'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.'
'Wonderfully written and performed. Moving and heart warming. This piece deserves to be seen and gain higher recognition.'
'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.'
'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!'
'Very moving, lively, engaging and thought provoking show, go see it before the end of the festival.'
...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!).'
We couldn't fit all the lovely tweets on this page!
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 http://fringereview.co.uk/camden-fringe/
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