WHETHER you are a huge fan of the Bronte sisters, or know very little about them, the latest offering at the Apollo Theatre is a fascinating one.

The theatre is staging Bronte, a 2005 play by Polly Teale — a brilliant review of the lives of the remarkable trio of sisters/authors, who despite being cooped up in an isolated parsonage, managed to free themselves by creating enthralling and timeless stories.

It takes the audience through their lives from childhood to the heartbreaking moment their brother Branwell dies, swiftly followed by the loss of Anne then Emily, leaving Charlotte bereft and forced to carve out a new life for herself.

Not only does it chart the Brontes’ lives, but the play interweaves their main characters — paying particular attention to the tormented Bertha from Jane Eyre, and the wild Cathy from Wuthering Heights.

So, a play by a woman, about three extraordinary women, who constructed complex yet very real women in their novels at a time when the only way to get published was to adopt a male pseudonym.

To accommodate this play, the Apollo Theatre had an awakening of its own, with an entirely new raised central stage constructed and the seating moved to create a traverse set up.

It was the brainchild of director Di Evans and while it must have caused some headaches in the planning and construction, this modern makeover really added to the excitement of the production.

The cast of just six were incredibly impressive, dealing with a dialogue-rich text and giving honest and sometimes brutal portrayals of everything from seething frustrations to full-on madness.

Kudos to Fiona Gwinnett as Charlotte, Abbi Leverton as Emily, and Susan Simpson as Anne, who all gave charming, characterful and strong performances as the heroines.

They were ably supported by Chris Hicks and Peter Gale who played multiple characters without ever confusing the audience, and Maria Wilkinson who bravely let herself go as the fictional raving madwomen.

The play runs until Saturday, February 16.