Same-sex kiss cut from Singapore staging of Les Miserables

A scene from Les Miserables where students revolt.
A scene from Les Miserables where students revolt.PHOTO: MATTHEW MURPHY

SINGAPORE - A kissing scene between two male performers has been removed from the staging of Les Miserables after complaints from the public.

The Media Development Authority (MDA) confirmed that action was taken upon "receiving feedback from members of the public".

The show, now on at the Esplanade, was given a 'General' rating as the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted for classification, MDA said.

The Straits Times understands that kiss did not appear in performances from June 3.

The scene involved a brief peck on the lips during the song Beggars at the Feast.

It was not in many other productions of the long-running classic.

MDA said it reviewed the performance after receiving feedback from members of the public.

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

Earlier, Facebook user Alvin Ng posted in a Facebook group that he wrote to 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. He also appealed for others to lodge complaints too, if they saw the scene in other Les Miserables performances.

On June 10, he posted that MDA has liaised with the producers of the show to remove the scene.

Full statement from MDA:

The inclusion of the same-sex kiss was not highlighted in the script when it was submitted to MDA for classification. The performance was thus given a 'General' rating. Upon receiving feedback from members of the public, MDA reviewed the performance and confirmed that the scene was present. MDA advised the applicant that the inclusion of this particular scene meant that the performance had exceeded the 'General' rating issued. 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. MDA will take action against this breach of licensing conditions.

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

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

At Madonna's risque concert in March, which had an R18 rating, songs with religious 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.