Mad Hatter: 10 Mad Years, Headgate Theatre, Colchester

In case you were wondering what kind of legacy Mad Hatter has left on the town's theatre scene, then this concert proved it.

Originally formed with the intention of putting on serious, cutting-edge drama - they started with smart productions such as Of Mice and Men, Metamorphosis, and An Inspector Calls - in recent years they've served up some of the best musical shows I've ever seen.

And it was those memories which came flooding back at their special tenth anniversary concert.

To mark the occasion, they even brought back some much loved alumni, who are doing some pretty amazing things with the talent they no doubt honed doing those shows.

One of those is the supremely talented Rob Gathercole, who since graduating from Rose Bruford has gone on to write the music scores for shows, appeared in a national tour of Dreamboats and Petticoats, and is currently developing his Breaking Bad parody musical.

At this concert we were treated to two numbers from his previous work, The Downfall of the School, which not only was previously performed by Mad Hatter but also had a special concert recording done of it.

And it's a measure of his talent that it stood nose to nose with the rest of the numbers served up.

Two of my favourite Mad Hatter shows were The Drowsy Chaperone and Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, and so it was particularly wonderful to hear those being reprised, especially the latter, mainly because it reminded how brilliant Conner Pratchett was in that show.

He's just graduated from Bird college and is hoping to feature in an exciting musical project he's not allowed to tell anyone about - at the moment.

In what was essentially an ensemble concert, it feels a little awkward name-checking individuals but Yaz Sharp and Cerys Wilkin were very impressive indeed.

And there's a chance to see more of them with the Hatters latest production of Spring Awakening from September 11 to 14.

We were fortunate to get a little sneaky peak of that show and on the evidence of that, it's another not to be missed.

I just can't wait for the next ten years now.

Neil D'Arcy-Jones