On the Couch with Mo Lovegrove

Belvoir-Mo-Lovegrove-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Mo Lovegrove?
I’m a musician, music lover, practicing cartoonist, 80’s enthusiast, roller skater, cat lover, VHS collector, horror fan and a proud nonbinary individual who’s crazy about musicals.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d try not to overthink so much, and also not worry about what others thought of me all the time. It’s too much work!!

Who inspires you and why?
So many people! JG Quintel, who created Regular Show which is still my favourite cartoon to this day has been a really big inspiration for me, as he got me interested in drawing again, and finding my own style when I started cartooning as a teenager.

I love Neil Cicierega, he’s one of the most creative talents I’ve ever seen. He’s made more iconic pieces of internet history than you’d ever think. And I love Bob Ross to the moon and back; even though he’s not with us anymore, he still inspires so many of us from beyond just by painting and speaking from the heart.

The same can be said for the late Stephen Sondheim, who is possibly my biggest inspiration to date. The legacy he’s left can never be taken away, and the way he can write thoughts, emotions, and the most complex forms of human interactions is incredible. Even as a small child I knew I was listening to something special when I listened to this show for the first time. That’s the kind of effect he has on people.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’ve really wanted to be involved in children’s television for a while; growing up with Sesame Street and Bear in the Big Blue House I was always captivated by these puppets that have so much life and love within them, that could impact kids in such a positive way, myself being one of those kids, and I get worried about where that field of entertainment is heading these days, so being able to help keep kids feeling safe while doing a job I love is something I really want to work towards. (‘Bluey’ is DEFINITELY a step in the right direction though!!)

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Have to say New York; it’s too good and I loved visiting a few years back. Some of my favourite memories from there were all the Broadway shows I had the pleasure of being able to see, but one fond memory that always sticks out was being a kid and seeing a puppet show in the Swedish Cottage Theatre in the middle of Central Park – it was actually about a mix of fairytale creatures not too different from the ones in this show!! Notably The Big Bad Wolf – very topical, but he wanted to be a good guy in this story, so maybe not.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they haven’t already tried fluffy pancakes then we go to get fluffy pancakes, and then Luna Park because you’ve gotta go at least once in your life. (I live not far from it, so you can hear the echo of the rollercoaster in the distance, which sounds a bit wild but I love it.)

What are you currently reading?  
Coraline! It’s my favourite book and I’m on my 5th or 6th re-read by now. I never get sick of it, and I love the movie too. (Did you know there’s a Coraline musical? It’s not done very often but it exists; the more you know.)

What are you currently listening to?
Apart from the original Into the Woods cast recording on repeat, I’ve also been listening to a soundtrack for a musical I found from when I was 17; it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves, and I’d love to direct it someday if it ever came to Australia. But if I’m not listening to showtunes, I’d be listening to Fleetwood Mac or Lemon Demon. They’re two very different sounds, but my music taste is a bit unpredictable.

Happiness is?  
Being surrounded by loved ones listening to really good music!! Or watching a really good movie, or a really bad one and laughing about how bad it is together.

What does the future hold for you?
As long as I can keep working in the arts world, whether it be acting/singing or directing, and spend that time with other people who share the same passions and I can be surrounded by creativity and spaces where I can feel so authentically myself, that’s a future I’ll be so ready for.

Mo stars as Little Red Riding Hood in the Belvoir / Hayes Theatre co-production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods – currently playing at the Belvoir St Theatre until 30 April 2023. For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.

Image: Mo Lovegrove (supplied)