“Some hurtful things have been written in the bus shelter”, the cast is disillusioned and mutinous, and the power keeps going off. Yet the Spreyton Gurnish Am Dram Society Christmas show opens nonetheless, driven forward by the iron will of self-proclaimed director Jools Barnet Coombe (BA Hons). This year, she has decreed, there will be no panto or Eastenders Christmas special. The Society, in association with the Venton St. Lobb Parish Players, will offer something political, something worthy of the talent of its members, a twenty-first century version of A Christmas Carol. Jools’s artistic vision combines a mish-mash of influences and low-budget props to create something that is at once horrendous and hilarious. Scrooge is transported to his past accompanied by ‘Walking in the air’ from The Snowman and cotton-wool clouds vigorously waved about on long poles, while the ghost of Christmas present haunts us with a council estate inhabited by placard-waving hoodies, glue-sniffers and teenage mothers, and Jacob Marley rattles his chains to The Specials’ Ghost Town.

This parody of village hall amateur dramatics is presented with considerable talent by the five-strong cast, headed by Emma Taylor (also Artistic Director at the Canal Café Theatre) as the formidable Jools. Each cast member capably juggles their multiple identities and generates plenty of laughs along the way. Ann Theato takes on a particularly impressive number of roles including Bob Cratchitt and Jacob Marley, while Luke Coldham admirably balances an ambitious, money-obsessed banker Scrooge and the teenage Ian, the only male in Spreyton Amateur Dramatics. Rebecca Jayne Harper is lovably innocent as the ditsy Marigold and Scrooge’s vacant-faced lost love.

The running time is short, a little under an hour, which means the ending is necessarily abrupt and ultimately unsatisfying. There’s so much here that’s underdeveloped, from the sketches of the stereotypes of amateur dramatics to the potential political commentary from the all-too brief appearance of Clegg and Cameron as ghosts of Christmas yet to come. The structure lacks organisation and relies too heavily on the frequent musical numbers which seem to constitute most of the content of the show. If you’re after a light-hearted, easy-watching Christmas show, this is pretty good, but I can’t help but feel that it could be something much more meaningful.

A Coalition Carol is at the Canal Café Theatre until Saturday 22 December. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Canal Café Theatre website.