Ibsen sorts out the muddle hilariously, the orphanage-monument is a sailors’ whorehouse, the great division of society between freethinkers and right-thinkers is all balderdash, a provincial nightmare come true, a dazzling comedy, a twirl of the fingers and the apple is peeled, cored and exhibited, with so many appetizing bits and comfits served besides.

This is played for contrast on the surface, but Verklärte Nacht has its key change, and in its horribly tragic way the play ends on a perfect sunlit day, which is the point, of course (Bergman has a similar trick in Cries and Whispers of playing the awful truth quite seriously).

Dench, Gambon, Branagh, Richardson, Jones.