Theatre review: Someone to Blame at the King’s Head Theatre

Verbatim play tells the story of Sam Hallam, who was locked up for a murder he says he didn’t commit

�Before I took my seat at the King’s Head Theatre, I had never heard of Sam Hallam.

By the time I left, I not only knew about him, I was also incensed with rage for him, his family and his friends.

Someone to Blame tells Sam’s story using transcripts of interviews and court proceedings to explain how he came to be locked up for a crime he still denies to this day.

It means the audience hear the true rather than imagined voices of those involved - both at the time, and looking back - which successfully draws them into the confusion which followed the murder of Essayas Kassahun in Finsbury back in 2004.

Strong performances from a number of the actors add to the overall effect, yet sticking to the transcripts does not always work: the scenes in court, for example, could have done with being made shorter to keep the pace of the play.

But because the material which playwright Tess Berry-Hart has to work from is so strong, even slower scenes or the occasional fluffed line are forgivable.

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And - more to the point - any play which has the audience in tears and in a topic of conversation for days afterwards is certainly worth seeing.

* Someone to Blame is at the King’s Head Theatre until Saturday, March 31.