Les Miz same-sex kiss scene cut after public complaints

A kissing scene between two male performers has been removed from an ongoing production of Les Miserables after complaints from the public.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) confirmed it reviewed the performance after receiving feedback.

The Sunday Times understands that the kissing scene did not appear in performances from June 3.

The show, which began its run at the Esplanade on May 31 and will go on till July 24, had been given a "General" rating as the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted for classification, MDA added.

The scene involved a brief peck during the song Beggars At The Feast. It was not in many other productions of the long-running classic.

After being advised that the scene exceeded its "General" rating, the producers decided to remove it, MDA said.

"Under our classification code, such a scene would fall under an 'Advisory' rating. The applicant decided to remove the scene so as to keep the 'General' rating for the rest of its run. The MDA will take action against this breach of licensing conditions."

According to MDA guidelines, the authority could issue a warning or fine the show producer for breaching licensing conditions.

Mr Moses Lye, head of MediaCorp VizPro International, the show's promoter, said the kiss was intended to be comic.

"Beggars At The Feast is a comical scene during which the villain Thenardier makes fun of the wedding guests. He gives one of them, whom he describes as queer, a quick peck on the lips," he said.

MediaCorp Vizpro International "took action" on June 3, and worked with the producers to adapt the scene.

Queries from The Sunday Times on why the kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted to the MDA went unanswered.

Earlier, Facebook user Alvin Ng posted in a Facebook group that he had written to the MDA to complain about the scene.

He wrote in a June 1 post that he saw the kiss in the second last scene during the opening performance of Les Miserables.

"This was never in the original production but now it's been included here," Mr Ng pointed out.

Other international performances have been toned down for the Singapore audience, but usually before the show opens here.

At Madonna's concert in March, which had an R18 rating, songs with religiously sensitive lyrics like Holy Water were left out.

In a 2007 production of King Lear where Sir Ian McKellen played the titular monarch, he wore a loin cloth for a nude scene.

Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh and Chew Hui Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 12, 2016, with the headline 'Les Miz same-sex kiss scene cut after public complaints'. Print Edition | Subscribe