The explosion of core-collapse supernova depends on a sequence of events taking place in less than a second in a region of a few hundred kilometers at the centre of a supergiant star, after the stellar core approaches the Chandrasekhar mass and collapses into a proto-neutron star, and before a shock wave is launched across the stellar envelope. Theoretical efforts to understand stellar death focus on the mechanism which transforms the collapse into an explosion. Progress in understanding this mechanism is reviewed with particular attention to its asymmetric character. We highlight a series of successful studies connecting observations of supernova remnants and pulsars properties to the theory of core-collapse using numerical simulations. The encouraging results from first principles models in axisymmetric simulations is tempered by new puzzles in 3D. The diversity of explosion paths and the dependence on the pre-collapse stellar structure is stressed, as well as the need to gain a better understanding of hydrodynamical and MHD instabilities such as standing accretion shock instability and neutrino-driven convection. The shallow water analogy of shock dynamics is presented as a comparative system where buoyancy effects are absent. This dynamical system can be studied numerically and also experimentally with a water fountain. The potential of this complementary research tool for supernova theory is analysed. We also review its potential for public outreach in science museums.