Leading the way for two more Colchester professional productions to come, if this is any benchmark for the rest, then theatre-goers are in for a treat.

Paul T Davies’ new work is almost two plays for the price of one with a poignant tale of friendship and loss on the one hand and a potted history of homosexuality from the year it was made legal in 1967.

With the potential of the individual ‘gay’ stories detracting from the emotional punch of the main subject of the play, there’s a danger it might not work at all - but thankfully it does.

Shedding Skin is now a beautifully told story of two young friends, one gay, one hetro, surrounded by a cavalcade of other tales which neatly places it all in the context of gay history.

That said, it’s the scenes in which the two friends’ story is played out which really hit hard. There’s two wonderful partnerships on stage, that of Lee Birnie’s Jase and Osian England’s Gabe, and then Jase’s parents, played by Sara Jane Derrick and Thomas Roy Edwards.

All wonderfully put together by director Tom Foster.

There are scenes still to work on, such as when Jase tells his parents what’s happened to Gabe but overall it’s a lovely thought-provoking piece, which is much more than just a gay play.

Neil D’Arcy-Jones