Brontë | ThreeSisters ProductionsJust like being rich and thin it seems that the Brontë sisters will never go out of style and thank God for that. Presented by ThreeSisters Productions, a group aiming to “shine light on female voices and characters”, Brontë is the second play written by Brontë obsessive Polly Teale to be performed in Brisbane this year.

It examines the short lives of sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and the complex reasons behind the desire of three such naturally reclusive women to write works of passionate, uncompromising fiction. Removing the sisters from their mythology and placing them squarely in the domestic, Teale’s script brims with real human warmth, passion and humour without sacrificing any of the romanticism without which any play about the sisters would be incomplete.

Sue Rider’s direction is excellent and she has elicited wonderful performances from her young cast who all rise to the considerable challenges of Teale’s densely packed, demanding script. Rebecca Roberts is engaging as the unworldly Anne and Hannah Levien brings a stern, passionate pragmatism to ambitious Charlotte.

Ron Kelly delivers wonderfully nuanced performances in a number of different roles including Patrick Brontë and Mr Rochester (Jane Eyre) and Kerith Atkinson brings a disturbing undercurrent to Cathy (Wuthering Heights) and Bertha (Jane Eyre).

But the standout performances come from Kevin Spink and Kathryn Marquet as Branwell and Emily. In the difficult role of the lost brother who of all the siblings most desired celebrity but was least blessed with talent Spink is totally convincing, showing us not only Branwell’s rage but his vulnerability too. Kathryn Marquet, who I last saw as Bertha Mason in Harvest Rain’s recent production of Jane Eyre, really delivers as the complex Emily, the deeply reclusive sister with one foot in the grave and her head in the clouds.

Considering the challenges of size and location the Sue Benner theatre presents to any production, let alone one seeking to impart a gothic Victorian atmosphere, Brontë is remarkably atmospheric. The set design by Kitty Taube makes the most of the tiny stage cleverly placing the audience inside a recreation of a recreation of the Brontë household.

Stephen Brodie’s sound design is hauntingly beautiful and the costumes by Carolyn Taylor-Smith are a refreshing departure from the usual period fare being thoughtfully designed to harmonise with every element of the production without slavishly copying period style.

If I have one criticism it would be that no one managed a real Yorkshire brogue but it’s a small point in the scheme of things. Brontë is a wonderful production showcasing some of Brisbane’s most talented new performers and is a must for any Brontë fan.

Metro Arts and ThreeSisters Productions Present
by Polly Teale

Venue: Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, 109 Edward St, Brisbane
Dates: Tues 9 - Sat 27 September 2008
Times: Tue: 6:30pm; Wed - Sat: 7:30pm
Tickets: Adults $20/ Conc. $16/ Preview $12/ Group (10+) $12
Bookings: (07) 3002 7100 or


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