Les Miserables in Singapore: MDA to ‘take action’ over same-sex kiss

(Photo: Yahoo Newsroom)

[Updated Saturday 11 June 2016 22:05: A statement from MediaCorp VizPro, the musical’s organiser, has been added to the story]

A same-sex kissing scene in the Singapore staging of the musical “Les Miserables” has been removed following complaints.

According to the Media Development Authority (MDA), it will be “taking action against this breach of licensing conditions”, which could range from a warning letter to a fine.

The scene in question involved a brief kiss on the lips between two male performers during the song “Beggars at the Feast”. Its inclusion in the performance was “not highlighted in the script” when it was submitted for classification, said the MDA.

Following a review, the MDA said it advised the show’s producers that the inclusion of the kiss meant that the production now exceeded its “General” rating, prompting the producers to remove the scene to avoid an “Advisory” rating. The scene has not appeared in performances since 3 June.

On 1 June, Facebook user Alvin Ng posted in the “We are against Pinkdot in Singapore” group, stating that he had watched the show’s opening performance and observed “a gay kiss that occurred in the second last scene (the wedding dance)”.

“This was never in the original production but now it’s been included here,” said Ng in the post, adding that he had written to the MDA to complain about the matter. He also encouraged others who had seen the musical to lodge their complaints, too, otherwise “they’ll keep pushing the boundaries”.

A subsequent post by Ng on Friday (10 June) to the same group stated that he had received a response from the MDA, which said it would be following up on the matter.

Responding to the matter, Moses Lye, head of the musical’s organiser MediaCorp VizPro, said: “‘Beggars at the Feast’ is a comical scene during which the villain Thénardier makes fun of the wedding  guests. He gives one of them, whom he describes as queer, a quick peck on the lips. The kiss was intended to be comic. On 3 June we took action and worked with the producers to adapt the scene.”