Beginning his stage career at a young age, Felix Mosse has starred in many productions which have included West End’s Les Misérables and The Book of Mormon, as well as an international tour as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show. Most recently, Felix played one of the lead characters, Alex, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love at Southwark Playhouse which ran until early last month. Meeting with Felix, we chat about starting his stage career, appearing in the West End and his performance in Aspects of Love.
When and where did your stage career start?
My sister was part of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre and she came home one day and she had been tap dancing. I told her that she was dreadful at it so she said, ‘well, I’m better than you could ever be,’ and I demanded that day to be enrolled in the Youth Theatre. I got in when I was ten and that’s really where it started basically, me insulting my sister.
Was The Book of Mormon your West End debut and how did you find your time in the show?
It was my West End debut, it was wonderful, they treat you brilliantly there. It’s incredibly gruelling, it’s ferociously high energy but it’s all very earnest and sincere, I loved doing it. It was very tiring but it was wonderful.
How different was it from your previous roles?
Oh my God, so different. Before I went to Central when I was nineteen, because I did The Book of Mormon when I was twenty/twenty-one, I had basically done only screen work, or theatre work as a child actor. I was ensemble in Mormon and I had so many different costumes. I think one of the fastest quick changes we had in the show was seven seconds, they have some of the best dressers in the entirety of the West End. They have a four-second quick change in the wings after one of the numbers and it’s a complete outfit, so that was amazing. Totally different from anything I’ve ever done – a steep learning curve.
Who was your character Dean in Love Me Tender?
Love Me Tender is the English name for an American musical called All Shook Up and I think it was called Love Me Tender because of rights but it’s essentially the same show. Dean’s this very young military guy, he’s a fascist basically, I’ve played a lot of fascists in my life so far and he was good fun, he was sweet. I made some amazing friends on that job, some that have endured throughout my life and I played opposite a really brilliant actress called Aretha Ayeh and sang It’s Now or Never, If I Can Dream, Burning Love… all the classic Elvis hits. It was really fun.
What was it like playing Alex in Aspects of Love?
Immense. It’s based on a novella by David Garnett, it’s about this crazy tumultuous love affair that lasts over two decades. I start as a seventeen-year-old and I finish when I’m thirty-four. It’s very dramatic, a lot happens, it’s very relentless, it just keeps going and going and going but it’s easily the greatest role I’ve ever done, it’s just wonderful. We had an amazing team, Jonathan O’Boyle, the director, was extraordinary, the entire creative team – producer, designers in all their forms, choreographer, my opposite – Kelly Price – brilliant actress, the whole cast were extraordinary.
Alex was a real treat. It’s great to be able to take a step back and leave it while you still love it because it is so huge and you’re doing it every night. I’ve done jobs where you finish and you think to yourself, ‘oh, I’m exhausted, I need that to be over’, whereas Alex I think I could have done another month so it’s nice to be able to leave while I still love it. It’s much better that way. I’ll always think back to it and remember I loved that, whereas if you leave when you don’t enjoy it anymore, that’s what you’ll associate with it. Alex was wonderful.
Was there a difference playing at Hope Mill Theatre to Southwark Playhouse?
Not hugely in terms of creativity. The show itself got flatter, the stage at Southwark is more like a square and at the Hope Mill Theatre our stage was much more like a rectangle, very long with a lot of depth. So, in terms of direction and playing, it changed a bit but the show was very similar. It was strange having a different environment to do it in, especially as we did it in Manchester in the height of summer, it was boiling, we almost boiled alive some days! We had our press night on the semi-final of the football World Cup and it was crazy, we had to turn off all the TVs. I’m a big football fan so I couldn’t look at any of the scores until after the show so that was frustrating! Then we did it in the height of winter in Southwark so that was a real change.
What did you know about the show before auditioning?
Absolutely nothing. Everyone knows Love Changes Everything, Michael Ball made it a massive hit but when you listen to it, it’s a twenty-piece orchestra and a crazy backing behind it and it’s very triumphant in the way it is. It was originally done at the Prince of Wales for over a thousand people in a massive proscenium stage, whereas our version is 200 people at Southwark Playhouse. I listened to the soundtrack and I thought ‘oh my God what have I got myself into’ because when you hear the soundtrack it’s not very me at all. Then I walked into rehearsals and we started learning it and it felt like a completely different show so I knew nothing about it. To be honest, until I walked into that rehearsal room, I still didn’t know anything about it despite all the research because it was just an alien piece, I had no idea what to expect.
Had you worked on any of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals previously?
I don’t think so. I might have been a child actor in Jesus Christ Superstar years and years ago but I don’t think so. Not as a functioning adult anyway.
Can you tell us what it was like playing Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show?
Completely wild. There is essentially an audience script where in between all of the lines, audience members will shout out to the film responding lines, it’s mainly for comedic effect. This has translated to the stage so it’s an incredibly intimidating process to get familiar with. We opened our tour in Cologne in Germany and the Germans love Rocky Horror… they all dress up! Everyone speaks English, they’re all much better than the English people are at speaking multiple languages and they’re all just screaming what feels like abuse at the stage and you’ve got to learn to ride it. Rocky Horror’s a strange one. I met one of my closest friends in that, Sophie Isaacs, so it was great for that and there are some amazing songs in it. It’s really good fun.
What was it like in the West End production of Les Misérables?
That was actually, as you might imagine, the most epic thing I’ve ever done. It’s thirty-three years old now, thirty-one years old when I did it, and it is enormous, it’s a joy to be a part of. There is nothing like at the end of act one, that big red flag flying and you sing One Day More and you get a crazy applause every single night, it’s just crazy. There was no reason at the time for people to expect it to be able to last thirty years when I joined. It’s three hours long, it’s about the people’s revolution in France, it’s very serious, very dramatic, you don’t think it’s going to last but inexplicably it has. The music is so good and the drama is so good, it’s just endured all this time and when I did it, it felt like it was at least as good a shape as when it opened. It was wonderful, they care about it so much, the whole team really invest in it which is an amazing thing to be part of, a real privilege.
Had you seen the show before joining the cast?
No, I hadn’t. Les Mis was one of those things that, because it’s been on for so long, I always thought to myself, ‘I’ll go at some point, it will always be on’. Then I got to twenty-four and I joined Les Mis and I had a show watch so I sat out front during rehearsals and I watched the show to see what it looks like as a whole and I could watch my character. I had never seen it before that and it was magical, it was so good. When the barricade came through the smoke I thought, ‘this is amazing! No wonder it’s run for so long’.
What’s been your favourite role to perform in so far?
When I was sixteen, I did a film called Lost Boys: The Thirst. The original Lost Boys with Kiefer Sutherland and Corey Feldman was a big cult hit back in the day, a big vampire film. I played the lead vampire in one of the sequels and I was flown out to South Africa and I was there filming for three months. That was an amazing experience, so as an experience, that’s probably my favourite.
Single role is definitely Alex in Aspects of Love. I was on stage 90% of the show and I was incredibly fortunate that the woman playing opposite me, Kelly, was so brilliant because shows that are essentially driven by one or two people, everything lives or dies by their commitment and the way they get on with each other. Especially as Kelly and I, our roles are so intimate, they’re in love very tumultuously over a vast period of time so if Kelly and I hadn’t got on, it would have been a disaster and everything would have fallen apart but I was very fortunate that we did connect so well. I would definitely say Aspects for sure.
Did you ever have other career plans had you not got into acting?
My mum is a very successful novelist and I wanted to be a writer forever, even when I was working as an actor as a child, I thought to myself, ‘I would kill to be able to just sit down and write all day, write what I think and what I imagine’. Acting got me in the end. There’s nothing quite like acting, it’s a very special thing, it’s very up and down, it’s very emotionally rocky but it is totally worth it in the end. I’m a script editor full time so I edit people’s scripts. I’ve been doing that for five or six years now so I don’t have any regrets because I’m able to do other things that I love at the same time but I guess if I had to choose another profession, I would probably have been a writer.
What’s your auditioning process?
Practice. That’s it. I don’t get nervous at all before auditions, the only ones I do are where I don’t know material and I don’t know how truthful that is for everybody but I think a lot of people often get nerves from the fact they don’t know material well enough and they don’t feel confident in it. The thing I can say is, if you’ve performed it twenty times and you know the lines back-to-front and you could do them in any order, if you are confident in yourself as a performer, then the audition will be fine, you’ll be able to perform it in a variety of different ways and you’ll be able to respond to what they want in a variety of different ways. My audition process is very simple, just learn it learn it learn it, just do it, never stop, it’s never too early to start learning material. I’ve had auditions come through maybe four weeks in advance for big projects. Start that day, learn it all and once you do, you can always go back to it and refresh your memory, don’t ever leave it, get on it as soon as you can.
Do you have any upcoming productions booked?
None that I can talk about. I teach creative writing criterion with my father, we’ve been doing that for five years so we have writers come in and we teach them how to write plays in a very technical sense. I’m a full-time script editor so I’m contracted by a number of companies and freelance to edit films for them. I have no acting projects, that I can discuss, haha!
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