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The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Issue 1777
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

A Psychedelic Performance Without the Shrooms

Arts Writer Gurdip Uppal recounts his ethereal experience watching Mythosphere, Stones Nest's latest Russian-UK production

Myth3 Photo: Helen Murray


in Issue 1777



★ ★ ★ ★
Stone Nest
Until 9th October 2021

Where lies the boundary between reality and fantasy? Imagination and neuroses? Delusions and spiritual awakening? Most people may not instinctively turn to an 19th Century Welsh chapel to reflect on these philosophical questions. However, Inna Dulerayn’s “Mythosphere” forces you to confront these existential questions in the comfort of a grand Presbyterian church. 

Just off the buzzing roads of China Town, the Stone Nest was the perfect venue for this multimedia production. The grade II listed church, currently undergoing restoration after having been neglected for many years, with its stripped back walls and the eerily empty basement made it feel as though you had intruded into a secret underground cult. Conveniently, this felt intentional and in line with the style of the performance, and made you feel fully immersed until you left with the strange unease of seeing something you weren’t supposed to.

...made you feel fully immersed until you left with the strange unease of seeing something you weren’t supposed to...

The play is structured in two acts. Act 1 follows Edyta Budnik, playing a young girl who reads out pages of her childhood diary, detailing her experiences and beliefs about magic, and how this comes into conflict with her friends around her. Her monologues of feeling dejected and loss of magical powers are punctuated with enchanting operatic singing from a chorus of mystical birds. The acoustics of the chapel made the singing feel that much more transcendental, aptly setting the tone for what was coming up. However, at times the opera singing was excessive and failed to move the plot forward in any way. 

The pacing of act 2 was much better where we instead follow a granny (played by Lucienne Deschamps) who is trying to find the line between what are her delusions and what she can trust from those around her. There is an R. D. Laing-eqsue exploration of medicalisation of mental illnesses as we listen to the granny narrate her narcotized morning routine prescribed by her therapist. We learn that the ‘symptoms’ which she was facing were really supernatural powers being blocked by modern attitudes against spiritualism. 

Myth Photo: Helen Murray
Spirituality conforming to modern society’s view on mentally health!

There should be special acknowledgement of the creative team who made the story come to life with projections of fantasy worlds onto a mesh screen in front of the actors, and the sound design crew who tied the entire atmosphere together. The avant-garde costume design by Anna Smirnova was truly breath taking and is something I shall never forget! Whilst the plot was incohesive and unnecessarily drawn out at times, the sensory experience of the show was truly remarkable thanks to the flawless execution from the creative team. ‘Mythosphere’ is an unforgettable show for many reasons, and is one that must be experienced first hand to be understood. 

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