The tale of a rich scrooge, prompted to philanthropy by the machinations of either an over worked imagination or a ‘Higher Being’ (it doesn’t really matter which it’s the money that counts) there are some pretty obvious reasons why A Christmas Carol is the seasonal show of choice for 2010.

Tacit Theatre and .dash’s production at the atmospheric, but here woefully underused, Theatre Delicatessen sadly falls far short of any such social commentary, although to be fair they may not have intended to do any. Unfortunately it is not clear what they are trying to do other than stage a rather hackneyed production that has little dramatic tension and incredibly for such a well known work, narrative clarity.

Tom Daplyn fights valiantly against a belaboured script but his premature redemption renders the rest of his journey superfluous; this Scrooge repents after the first flicker of otherworldly attention. In Jessica Jordan-Wrench’s underwhelming production the rest of the cast flounder relying on presentational performances which leave one cold.

But it is admirably framed with some sophisticated technology and stylish design taking centre stage here. Rob Hart’s expressive soundscape brings as much magic as possible to the proceedings and Sembler’s low-fi video art creates one of the only chilling moments of the evening. Katharine Heath’s design and Eoin Furbank’s sharp lighting succeed in creating an eerie Dickensian 1984, resting comfortably between the past and future in a way Pete Wrench’s script tries, but fails, to do.

- Honour Bayes