Ipswich’s Pulse Festival returns to the New Wolsey Theatre 1-10 June 2017, packed with over 50 events to thrill and entertain. To help you decide what to see, we’re running our Pulse Points Previews, asking performers to tell us about their productions.
Here, Bella Heesom tells us about My World Has Exploded A Little Bit which is performed at Pulse on 5 June 2017
How would you describe your show in one sentence?
A funny, heartfelt story of loss and love, told through a darkly comic guide to bereavement, with music, philosophy and silliness.
What appealed about appearing at Pulse?
It’s a vibrant, exciting, delicious smorgasbörd of theatrical delights! The guys at China Plate have great taste and support excellent work, so I’m honoured to have mine included in this festival.
How have you been preparing for Pulse?
We performed the show at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer and the response was amazing. Having called it his ‘pick of the fringe’ Andy George, one of the festival directors, asked us to do it at VAULT Festival in London at the start of the year, where it was Highly Commended by the awards committee, and then most recently we started our national tour with a week at Ovalhouse in London, where audiences once again laughed and cried and hugged me, and we racked up another raft of 4 and 5 star reviews, one of which compared me to Emma Thompson, so we’ll be arriving in Ipswich on a bit of a high!
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
The thing people often comment on is how much of an emotional rollercoaster it is – we switch between moments of tender heartache and moments of ludicrous hilarity at breakneck speed, meaning audiences are often bursting into laughter even as tears are still rolling down the cheeks. I think that’s probably the thing that sets it apart. As one reviewer said, ‘It shouldn’t work, but it does.’
The other thing people are consistently struck by is how unflinchingly honest it is. I don’t pull any punches. That reviewer’s Emma Thompson comparison described me as ‘so direct and blunt as to be gleefully shocking’. I think people find that refreshing.
Oh, and I offer hugs to everyone in the audience at the end of the show! I bet none of the others do that!
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Pulse (apart from your own)?
My top tip for anyone who hasn’t seen it is All The Things I Lied About, which I saw in Edinburgh – it’s brilliant. Also very honest and a bit shocking.
I’m looking forward to seeing Eurohouse, which is on the same day as me – I missed it at Ovalhouse but heard good things so am excited to get another chance to see it. I’m heartbroken about our imminent departure from the EU, so am hoping some darkly comic theatre about it will cheer me up a bit!
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given for performing at a Fringe Festival?
Talk to people! It’s an amazing opportunity to meet a diverse range of artists, and there are often exciting connections to be made.
The average human pulse rate is 70bpm, what is the pulse rate of your show and why?
Probably about double that, so 140bpm, because I found that when someone you love is dying, time slows down and becomes quite dreamlike, and you squeeze more love and agony into a short space of time than you previously thought possible. Your heart expands until it feels like you’ll explode. So it must be beating twice as fast as normal.
Plus another reviewer said the transitions between the ridiculous, farcical lecture on ‘Managing Mortality’ and the quiet, tender, bittersweet scenes ‘got quicker and quicker until Bella was having a conversation with Bella at at least twice the speed of any normal conversation, which was the epitome of Heesom’s wonderful and versatile acting ability.’ Which is to say: I speak very quickly indeed, so my heart must be beating faster to keep up.
Image: Gavin Smart
My World Has Exploded A Litte Bit runs at Ipswich’s Pulse Festival on June 5 2017
The Reviews Hub are proud to be the Media Partner for the Pulse Festival and will be providing in-depth coverage throughout the festival.