Work, Family, Romance and the Utopian Sensibilities of the Chick Megamusical Mamma Mia!

Part of the Performance Interventions book series (PIPI)


In the mid-eighties rock star Freddie Mercury and his band Queen queered domesticity with their iconoclastic pop video accompanying the release of their record ‘I want to break free’. Parodying the working-class and gender credentials and conventions of the British soap opera Coronation Street, a cross-dressed Mercury, complete with false breasts, pink top, black patent mini skirt and stockings, vacuumed a living room carpet, chorusing to the refrain of ‘want[ing] to break free’. Lyrically and visually the performance was open to interpretation as an anthem to gay/women’s liberation. To signify a utopian release from the day-to-day dreariness of domestic labour, the door to an understairs cupboard opened up to a rock opera fantasy featuring writhing, sexually desiring bodies; Mercury, the queered and feminised subject, appears transported by the promise of sexual and romantic pleasure.


Domestic Labour Glass Ceiling Stage Musical Double Duty Case Study Material 
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Copyright information

© Elaine Aston and Geraldine Harris 2013

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  • Elaine

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