Review: Beauty Queen of Leenane, Headgate Theatre, Colchester. Until Saturday, October 12. 7.30pm and 2.30pm (Saturday). 01206 366000.

If anyone was in any doubt of the quality of the local theatre scene, there are two performances currently smashing to pieces that supposed connotation to the word amateur.

The first is Leanne Field, who is quite simply stunning in the Mercury and Colchester Operatic Society's Big Tent production of Oliver!

A lot has been written about that already but if you haven't seen it, then please do.

The other star turn is the incredible Charlotte Still, who for many years has been wowing audiences with her sublime performances.

And here's another one in the mentally unstable spinster Maureen stuck at home caring for her demanding, and more than a little mean spirited mother.

Her anger and frustration is all conveyed perfectly, as well as the black humour, which is pretty much the trademark for Martin McDonagh.

In fact Charlotte does such a great job, it's as though the Irish playwright and director of Three Billboards, wrote the part for her.

She really is a proper jewel in our theatre scene.

Charlotte's ably supported by another of Colchester's theatrical jewels, Sara Green as mother, although sometimes she was a little too innocently simple for my liking. There needs to be a real nastiness in mother.

Mike Carrington played love interest Pato with charm, and I really liked Matthew Hankin's Ray, who has all the best lines and delivered them, pretty much, with tearaway panache.

He also lacked that little bit of edginess which McDonagh plants in this dark comedy, and which Charlotte so delightfully played around with so that when the ending comes, you're shocked but not completely surprised.

It's a great little play, put together very well by director Paul T Davies, balancing the charm with the underlying menace.

As a huge McDonagh fan I would have liked that shocking ending a little more violent.

But then (look away now - spoilers), she is one of the town's theatrical jewels.