Author: Leona Laurie

OUTLANDER Recap: (S03E03) All Debts Paid

I’m so grateful that Outlander is my can’t-miss show again. I hold it up as one of the better books-to-screen adaptations, so I never fault season two for being less engaging than season one, because that’s true to book two versus book one. Book one / season one are all time travel, adventure and romance. Book two / season two are battle strategy, trauma recovery and trench foot. But book three is a return to what made the story’s beginning so gripping, and so far season three is right in step with that.  Episode three of the third season is...

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Now Playing at Anaheim’s Chance Theater: Lauren Yee’s IN A WORD

I’ll be honest. I didn’t love Lauren Yee’s in a word, playing at the Chance Theater in Anaheim, CA, until October 8. It may just be that I’ve reached my saturation point for absurdist plays that lean heavily on wordplay. If the brief synopsis, “Lauren Yee’s award-winning exploration of grief and word choice,” calls to you, you may feel differently. What I’m sure we’ll agree on, though, is that the Chance is consistently charming, and that any theatre experience there is a good one.  When you arrive at the Chance, you’re greeted by the friendliest people. The lobby is...

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OUTLANDER Recap: (S03E02) Surrender

The big separation continues in episode two of Outlander’s third season, as Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) struggle to make their lives apart work. Claire is finding her feet as a mother and trying to make the best of her also-ran marriage to Frank (Tobias Menzies), and Jamie is just surviving. How long until they’re reunited?!? The alternating perspectives approach to presenting their stories continues in this episode, picking up with Jamie six years after Culloden and Claire about four months after giving birth to Brianna (based on her celebrating the milestone of Brianna rolling over for the first time).  Jamie...

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ONCE at South Coast Repertory: A Taste of Broadway in Orange County

When you see Once at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, you’ll get more than a regional theatre’s spin on the 2015 Tony-winner for Best Musical. Music Director Andy Taylor originated the role he plays in this production, Bank Manager, on Broadway and wrote the song he solos for comic effect during act one. He’s joined by first national tour of Once alums Alex Nee, in the role of Andrej, and Cassidy Stirtz, playing Reza. Since the tour ended earlier this year, SCR’s production, which runs until September 30, may be your best chance to experience the magic these “old pros”...

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OUTLANDER Season Premiere Recap: (S03E01) The Battle Joined

The season three premiere of Outlander, “The Battle Joined,” rewinds from where the season two finale left us in 1968, picking up where season two’s premiere stepped away from the aftermath of Claire (Caitriona Balfe) moving to Boston with Frank (Tobias Menzies) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) fighting the Battle of Culloden. The episode alternates between Jamie and Claire’s experiences as he reluctantly survives without Claire and she gradually shows the wear of stuffing down the truth of who she is and how she’s feeling in her marriage and in post-war America.  Related: Catch up on Season Two before diving...

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OUTLANDER: Get Ready for the Season Three Premiere Sunday!

Season three of Outlander begins this weekend, so let’s catch up on what happened during season two and where we left everyone, shall we? Season two opened with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) walking disoriented down a Scottish road, moments after having passed through the stones, leaving Jamie (Sam Heughan) to go off to the Battle of Culloden while keeping her promise to protect their unborn child by returning to Frank (Tobias Menzies). It’s 1948,  and she’s been gone for two or three years (the season premiere says two, the finale says three).  Reunited with Frank, Claire is so affected by his...

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Hey, You Guys! STRANGER SUGGESTIONS at L.A.’s Impro Studio Never Says Die (Or No…)

Following in the footsteps of the Duffer Brothers, the cast of Stranger Suggestions binge-watched classic 80s movies that pitted tenacious kids against villainous adults amidst supernatural happenings. In the vein of Stranger Things, this totally improvised show draws on The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Last Starfighter, The NeverEnding Story, Flight of the Navigator, Labyrinth, etc. I saw their preview, and it was rad. Rather than trying to review a show that changes for every performance, I thought it would be more interesting to talk to director and cast member Kelly Holden Bashar (Fargo) about how Stranger Suggestions works. I knew...

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Coming Up: STRANGER SUGGESTIONS from Impro Studio

If you’re in the LA area and looking for a way to pass the time before season two of Stranger Things drops on October 27, Impro Studio has you covered. Beginning this weekend, they’re bringing the completely improvised show Stranger Suggestions to life every Saturday in September. Related: Kelly Holden Bashar appeared on Booze and Phasers the last time this happened! They say: Join us on an unforgettable 1980’s sci-fi adventure as we explore what Stranger Things lurk beyond the shadows and in the dark. Invoking the spirit of 1980’s Spielberg and Sci-Fi/Fantasy and the work of Steven King, Stranger...

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GAME OF THRONES Season Finale Recap: (S07E07) The Dragon and the Wolf

My colleague, Kimberly Pierce, and I alternated weeks recapping Game of Thrones this season. I did this final season seven recap, so she’ll “face off” with her take in a separate post. (Get it? Like with FACE MAGIC.)  Daaaaaaaaaang! If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, tonight you got SERVED. Let me start by apologizing to the writers for my extreme doubt about what they were up to with the Stark sisters last week. It’s true that you’ve disappointed me in the past, but you made all the way up for it tonight.  A few important points in case...

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Facing Off: GAME OF THRONES (S07E06) Beyond the Wall

My colleague, Kimberly Pierce, and I are alternating weeks recapping Game of Thrones this season. On our off weeks, though, we still have something to say. She did the recap this week, so I’m facing off with her (Get it? Like with FACE MAGIC.) by chiming in with my two cents here… Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) were never close. They saw the world completely differently, with Arya believing that the rules were wrong and Sansa believing that the rules would carry her to where she wanted to go. Arya’s worldview made her the woman she is now, and...

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