The purpose of morals is never more plainly demonstrated than by their absence.

Peter Nicholls’ Passion Play at Theatre Royal Brighton lets Kate loose in black lingerie to create mayhem among the middle-aged with predictably dire results, orchestrated very loudly by Bach and Beethoven and the Lacrimosa.

But what might be a dull catalogue of familiar failings in lesser hands turns out to be a triumph.

Eleanor and James have their demons, their subconscious which allows each central role the privilege of two actors.

For once, we hear what isn’t said. Hypocrisy battles with truth, convention is at loggerheads with desire, affection is threatened by passion. Yet all passion, as all extreme emotion, even that analogous with Christianity or Mozart, teeters on the brink of farce; to keep the audience truly engaged in the drama requires acting of the very highest calibre.

Zoë Wanamaker leads an outstanding cast, including Owen Teale and Oliver Cotton as James, Samantha Bond as Eleanor’s alter-ego, Sian Thomas as every woman’s worst friend, and Annabel Scholey as the ultimate male fantasy figure of Kate. Beautiful, bisexual, black-robed, available and improbable – I hope.