The Nativity…What the Donkey Saw – Lyric Theatre Belfast

“And Emperor Caesar J Trumpius has decreed, ‘Let this new month be called
the month of Trumpius. It’s gonna be a great month. It’s gonna be great’.”

The Nativity…What the Donkey Saw is Grimes & McKee’s latest irreverent seasonal comedy, covering chapter one of ‘the greatest story ever told’ as seen through the eyes of the only truly reliable witness – the donkey.  Starring NI’s finest, Conor Grimes, Terry Keeley, Alan McKee, Tara Lynne O’Neill and Kerri Quinn, and directed by Frankie McCafferty, the energetic and hilarious show has been playing to standing ovations this week and runs until January 14.

First written and performed in 2004, it has not been staged for 12 years, and the new, revamped fresh script includes stories that have dominated the news in 2016. You will meet Mary, a mother with attitude who works in Centra, an Archangel who needs his wings dry-cleaned, the Nazareth Defenders Lambeg Drum Band, Caeser J Trumpious and the three wise men who bring gifts of gold, frankincense and sudocrem.  In retelling the story of the birth Jesus, the seasonal comedy seeks to answer some 2,000-year-old questions: Why didn’t Joseph book a room in advance? Would the wise men not have been wiser to club together and buy a high-chair?

The huge production is driven by fourteen songs plus numerous scene and costume changes. Audiences will recognise many familiar Christmas tunes, albeit with different lyrics, including I Wish It Could Be Census Every Day and the Fairytale of Nazareth. They will also recognise the voice of the narrator, God, as that of TV presenter Pamela Ballantine.

Director Frankie McCafferty commented “It’s the Nativity with an Ulster twist and a dash of political satire. A story everyone knows, but they’ll never have seen it like this before.  There are some new songs and references to recent political events, and being in the new Lyric, there is greater ability to have a bigger and better production, including a flying heavenly angel. Guaranteed good craic which will remind you of the Morecombe and Wise Christmas Specials.”

“Conor Grimes and Alan McKee’s revamped tale of ‘the greatest story ever told’ is a triumph…
the Lyric has a cracker on their hands. Go see!” CultureHub

Runs until 14 Jan at 7.45pm (no performances on 24 & 25 Dec or 1 Jan).

Tickets £22.50 from Box Office on 028 9038 1081 or book at



Voice of God / Narrator                                                                                 Pamela Ballantine
Mary                                                                                                                     Kerri Quinn
Joseph / Angel                                                                                                   Terry Keeley
Angel Gabriel / worker 1 / Salesman /
Rabbi / Soldier 1 / Vinty / Frank / Buckle                                                Conor Grimes
Worker 2 / Centurion / Wedding Guest /
Soldier 2 / Inn Keeper / Balthazar / Spoof                                              Alan McKee
Davy / Cletus / Street Vendor / Spit / Gold / Rooster                        Tara Lynne O’Neill

Creative Team

Writers                                                                                                                 Conor Grimes & Alan McKee
Director                                                                                                                Frankie McCafferty
Set Designer                                                                                                       Alyson Cummins
Costume Designer                                                                                           Enda Kenny
Lighting Designer                                                                                             Sarah Jane Shiels
Musical Director                                                                                               Peter J. McCauley
Choreographer                                                                                                 Deborah Maguire