It Was All Right On The Night
By Jeremy Moodey
A humorous re-telling of the Christmas story done in a Joyce Grenfell-style
monologue. The point is that all the business of a Nativity play
can sometimes obscure the central message.
Nativity play director
Child (plus two non-speaking companions)
(A slightly camp director walks onto stage with a clipboard. He is about
to comment on the dress rehearsal of a nativity play. He addresses the
OK darlings, quiet please! Now that was a wonderful dress rehearsal,
children, but I'm sure we can make our nativity play even better for the
mummies and daddies when they come tomorrow. So, if you'll all sit down,
I'll just go through my notes, OK?
Now, first of all...
Er, Joseph, please don't do that to Mary. It's not very nice. I have
told you before. Just don't do it. Thank you.
(Looking at clipboard)
Now, where was I? Ah yes. Angel Gabriel! Lovely bit with Mary right
at the beginning. If you can flap your wings a little less, because it
makes all the scenery shake and there's nothing about an earthquake in
the script. Also, you do know that Mrs Hitchins on the piano wears a wig,
and we don't want the hurricane caused by your angelic flapping to cause
any accidents do we? And please remember, if you can Gabriel, that the
line is "highly favoured lady" not "highly flavoured gravy". OK? Thank
Erm, ah yes, Mary, very touching that bit on the donkey, I like that.
Do remember that if you're pretending to be pregnant you only need the
one small cushion down the front of your tummy.....(pause) well, I just
think that two in your vest, one in your knickers and two up your trouser
legs is a little, er, shall we say excessive?.....(pause) I'm sure your
mummy did look like that when she was expecting your little brother, but
it does look a little odd on stage. So just the one cushion please, OK?
What's next? Ah yes, the innkeeper. Now...
Er, Joseph, I have asked you, please don't do that to Mary. It really
is not very nice. Thank you.
Now, innkeeper. I know you are a bit sad not to be Joseph this year,
but I don't think that is an excuse for completely ruining the play for
everyone else.....(pause) well, did you really need to tell Mary and Joseph
that there is plenty of room in the inn?......(pause) I'd love to do an
alternative nativity play as well, but not this year, OK? Mrs Snodgrass
has gone to a lot of trouble to build the stable and all those animal models,
and the mummies and daddies won't have a chance to see them if you've just
booked Mary and Joseph in for a twin bedroom with en suite bath and satellite
TV......(pause) (getting angry) Innkeeper, I am not prepared to argue.
Just stick to the lines, OK? There is no room at the inn. Thank you.
Right, now, Mary again. When I asked for you to bring in a doll for
the baby, I was looking for something a little different in size from your
Barbie......(pause) no, I don't mean a Polly Pocket, I mean something a
little bigger. Don't you have a big doll at home?......(pause) you do,
but your horrible big brother pulled its eyes out. Hmm, I see. Look, I'm
sure we'll find a bigger doll from somewhere.
Joseph! If you do that to Mary one more time I will swap you with one
of the sheep and then you won't have any lines to say at all. Do you understand?
Now shepherds. Shepherds are supposed to guide their flock of sheep
along with loving concern, not kick them up their backsides. Could you
please be a little more, er, shepherd-like? And if anyone, and I mean anyone,
refers to washing their socks again, I will personally see to it that they
never appear in another nativity play again. Understood? Thank you, gentlemen.
Now, animals, can we just get the noises right? At the moment you all
sound like hyenas with tummy ache. Just remember: pigs go oink, cows go
moo, sheep go baa, and camels go.....(pause - thinks)....hang on, what
noise does a camel make? Hump, I suppose. Anyway, try and make the right
Child: Excuse me, sir.
Director: Yes, what is it?
Child: Can I ask a question?
Director: Very well, come up. (Child troops up with two companions)
Child: Why do we actually perform a nativity play?
Director: Well, what a funny question. I don't know, it's traditional,
we've always done it. You know, lots of chances to make silly animal noises,
all you need for costumes are some old dressing gowns and tea-towels. It's
a nice story, I suppose.
Child: But it's not just a nice story, is it sir? I mean it's actually
true, isn't it? God really did send his Son into the world, and that is
the most amazing thing that has ever happened. Isn't that why we perform
Director: Er...well, yes, if you put it like that, I suppose it is.
Look, I'm sorry but I don't what part you are.
Child: Wise men, sir.
Director: Hmm, wise guys more like. While we're on the subject of wise
men, do you really need to come on whistling the theme tune to Match of
the Day. (Patronisingly) I mean, I don't think the wise men were football
fans you know.
Child: Excuse me, sir, but I think they were.
Director: Oh really, and why is that?
Child: Didn't they sing "We three kings of Orient are"?
(Note to non-English readers: Orient is an English football team.
I suggest you substitute an appropriate joke to fit your own situation.)
© Jeremy Moodey 2003, all rights reserved.
This drama may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies
are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In
exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified
of when and for what purpose the play is performed. Contact Jeremy at