A mate of mine has long harboured an ambition to update Salome, setting it in one of those grimy South London terraces that abut railway embankments and have abandoned Tesco trolleys in the gardens. I’ve always liked the idea. But after seeing Katie Mitchell’s new take on the Dido tragedy, I’m seriously reconsidering.

Mitchell’s “film and theatre” re-interpretation of Purcell’s jerky-but-glittering Dido and Aeneas shifts the action from Carthage, back in the day, to a house in (let’s say) Balham in 2009, adding a couple more bereaved/abandoned/lonely characters along the way.

It is presented in what I suppose you might call a 4D staging, in that there are some bits which no one can see except through the agency of cameras and screen. Which brings us to the first question: why?

Because there are, as it happens, other bits that plainly occur ‘elsewhere’, but are shot, visibly, live, on stage. A man ties a ribbon round a woman’s neck: the ribbon and the neck are there in front of us, but the man is not – in his place is a crew member wearing replicas of the man’s sleeves . . .

You don’t have to be Rudolf Nureyev to appreciate the expert, minute choreography required to facilitate the close-up camera-work. But the squad of actors/crew members scurrying around setting up the next shot is not only visually distracting but noisy with it. Which brings us to sound.

Several, what . . . ‘percussionists’? produce an incredibly precise array of live sound effects (who knew the sound of a drawer opening could be replicated by anything other than someone opening a drawer?); but to what end? The drawer is already being opened on stage; the FX aren’t always in synch with the projected footage, and the whole business obliges the actors to work in exaggerated dumb show.

Oh, and it’s an opera, by the way. Or was, until the singers (provided by English National Opera) kept having to duck and weave round the tech kit, sing upstage while operating the tech kit, or dash off to replicate the sound of a drawer opening. The baroque players (also ENO), led by Christian Curnyn, also seem to be playing down (a hollow non-gag, given the recurring fiction that one or more of the characters is listening to R3).

Wouldn’t it just have been easier just to record the music in advance? What was achieved by not doing so?

Ultimately, Mitchell’s attempt (one assumes . . . ) to amplify some modern, commuter-belt resonance merely renders Dido tinny and suburban. Yes, the production is tremendously clever: but so what?

Young Vic, until April 25 (2.30pm and 7.30pm). Tickets: 0207 922 2922 (www.eno.org)