Liz Kearney: 'Nativity stars set a shining example to all'
The preparations were akin to a Broadway show. There were daily rehearsals, with the actors poring over their lines until they were seared, word-perfect, into their memory.
Songs were learned by heart, stage directions carefully choreographed, costumes tweaked, and last-minute stage fright becalmed with gentle words of encouragement. The cast of 'Hamilton' themselves could surely not have been better prepared for their stage debut.
I'm talking, of course, about the Junior Infants nativity play at our local primary school, which played to a packed house on Tuesday morning.
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The audience of parents, siblings and grandparents - who might admittedly have been a small bit biased - declared it a triumph; nothing short of the greatest theatrical production of 2018.
Mary and Joseph led from the front. The shepherds were all present and correct, none of the sheep strayed off course, the three kings were suitably regal, and the galaxy of stars - a phalanx of adorable four and five-year-olds with tinsel on their heads - smiled broadly and shone brightly in the sky.
And most importantly of all, we parents were also on our best behaviour - which is not, apparently, the case at every school.
Over on Mumsnet, the internet home of the perennially enraged modern mother, parents behaving badly at the annual festive production is a hot topic of debate.
The site is awash with complaints about mums and dads who answer their phones mid-production, use camera phones to tape the action then plaster it all over social media without asking the other parents' permission, elbow people out of their way to get the best shot of their little darling on stage, and cheer loudly whenever their own children say a line.
All told, it sounds as though some parents can be more infantile than the kids on stage, which is a shame, because while Christmas is about many things - mounting stress as the big day approaches, rushing to shop, cook and cater for the masses - for a glorious half-hour on Tuesday morning, it was all about 27 shining faces, wide-eyed with the pure delight at it all.
As an antidote to the festive frazzle, I can highly recommend it.
What's up with calling someone a woman?
How strange modern gender politics is. The furore that erupted in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon over Jeremy Corbyn's jibe at Theresa May was telling on so many levels.
Corbyn was labelled a sexist for allegedly calling May a "stupid woman" during a heated row over Brexit.
Amid outraged scenes on the floor and a clamour for him to apologise, he insisted he'd actually used the phrase "stupid people" and therefore didn't need to say sorry.
But hang on a second - isn't the insulting part of this jibe the "stupid" part, rather than the "woman" bit? Since when was it offensive to describe someone as female? If Corbyn was guilty of anything in this case, it was of incivility, not misogyny.
Poppins doesn't need a spoonful of sex appeal
I'm alarmed by the notion of Emily Blunt making Mary Poppins a bit raunchy in the newly released sequel, as she confessed this week in an interview with the 'Daily Telegraph'.
I like Mary Poppins just as she is in the original Julie Andrews version; organised, no messing, and forthright. She's not really one for batting the eyelashes and who, apart from clichéd middle-aged business executives with no imagination, really wants a raunchy nanny? Here's hoping Ms Blunt really was joking.