James Millar, who plays Peter in the new production of the musical Company, admits he is too young to have seen the 1985 Sydney Theatre Company production.
“I was going into kindy that year and I was much more into Spot the Dog than Stephen Sondheim in those days,” he laughs.
If Millar had seen that production, or indeed the original show which opened on Broadway in 1971, he would have seen a very different version of his character’s relationship with the central figure of Bobby, played by David Campbell in this new version.
A scene between Peter and Bobby, in which both men reveal they have had homosexual experiences and then Peter makes a pass at his friend, was considered too risqué for those times and was cut.
In the new version of Company, opening this week at the Theatre Royal, the scene has been reinstated. And Millar believes it is not before due time.
“It is a relevant scene for a 2007 audience, as the story is about Bobby, a 35 year old man who is not married and can’t seem to find the right girl. Isn’t it logical then to ask if he is gay?” Millar asked.
“To me, this is nothing new. I hear stories every day from straight men who have had gay experiences. I think the scene was only controversial decades ago for a certain group of people who like their musical theatre straight – if you really can put those two words together.
“In a show about relationships, as Company is, it is an essential to also explore that side of life – of what goes on between two men.”
Company is now playing at the Theatre Royal. Bookings on 132 849.