Find A Partner: at Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton on 27 & 28 June

Find A Partner’: Love Island Meets Black Mirror in Leeds Actors in Training’s Latest Production.

This week, I took a trip to Chapel Allerton’s local independent art space Seven. Founded in 2007, the venue and adjoined café bar has championed many innovative creatives and independent artists, ranging from comedy shows to live music to theatre. This week’s performance falls into the latter category, with a stage production by Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT) entitled ‘Find A Partner!’

Lizi Patch by Kerry Maule

LAIT is a year-long acting course designed for 18-25 year olds who are local to the Leeds area. It was founded in 2018 as a response to young people wishing to develop their skills in performance in an alternative way to the traditional drama school route. Lizi Patch is the current course leader and is committed to also collaborating with guest artists for the course, including those specialising clowning, vocal coaching, singing, comedy and improv.

Lizi is also the director of their latest showing. ‘Find A Partner!’, written by Miriam Battye for the 2021 National Theatre’s Connections. Connections is a nationwide youth theatre festival promoting new plays to schools and youth theatres.

Torntara Buranakul (Sam F), Gabriel Simpson (Max) and Clemence Benard (Ella) by Chris Coote

The premise of Find A Partner appears simple enough, taking the form of a dating-based reality TV show in which each contestant must be coupled up or they are ‘out’. However, this ‘being out’ is more sinister than your average elimination on most programmes of that type currently airing. What’s more, all the players appear to be completely trapped in the game by means of a circular barrier with little method of escape. Our 9 contestants for the evening are led by their host and main spectator in the art of finding a partner, swapping your partner and leaving your partner. With many different clashing personalities, things are bound to take a turn for the worse.

Fardim Fahim (Spectator 1)

Firstly, every single member of this cast was absolutely fantastic and incredibly well suited to their characters, with all but one of the cast playing both a contestant and a spectator to the antics displayed inside the simple yet effective set of a circle drawn on the stage. Similarly, the simplistic costume worn by most cast members, consisting only of a plain green jumpsuit with a heart shaped necklace to represent when they were acting as contestants and when as spectators, clearly brought across the idea of imprisonment and provided an excellent contrast to the more flashy pink attire worn by the host.

I particularly enjoyed the use of music throughout this production. It was excellently embedded throughout the story and the whole performance even began with a waltz sequence. A massive shoutout must be given to Kieran Ragan, the sound designer, for their work in this department.

Karolos Karakantzas-Marketos (Jacob)

This particular piece of theatre was also incredibly funny. Each member of the cast was really able to pick up on the comedic timing of their respective monologues and featured scenes as their characters, making each moment truly engaging.

The current LAIT cohort should be very proud of the work they have produced for this show. Future projects are certainly an exciting prospect for this member of the audience!

Images: In rehearsals.

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