Black Lab Theater in the Press
"Never underestimate the energy of a new theater group, especially when it comes to Houston, a place that literally spawns new theater companies all the time. The two-year old Black Lab Theatre is presenting the Houston premiere of the Broadway hit Chinglish by Tony Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) in collaboration with Asia Society Texas Center on May 9-26, 2013, at Asia Society's Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater. It's always impressive when a small theater company tackles a big play. "
• CultureMap Houston full article
"Artistic Director Jordan Jaffe founded Black Lab Theatre in the spring of 2011. Under Jordan's leadership Black Lab Theatre has quickly grown into one of Houston's most exciting theatre companies. Black Lab Theatre is committed to producing great plays that are new and relevant. The aim is to challenge and entertain by providing audiences the opportunity to see a wide range of new works from up and coming and established playwrights whose work represents the finest contemporary theatre ... Rather than focus on major revivals, traditional productions or outright experimental theater, Black Lab Theatre will focus on bringing newer, socially conscious dramatic shows to audiences in fresh and innovative ways."
• 60 Seconds with JR full article
"Jordan Jaffe is also the artistic director of Black Lab Theatre, and is to be commended, not only for his fine performance in this production of Our House, but also for his vision and courage in heading up a theatre company that welcomes challenging and pertinent productions."
• The LoopScoop full article
Reviews for The Submission • January 2013
Black Lab Theatre's The Submission is Riveting, Razor-Sharp Treatise
"The Submission is so finely crafted and skillfully woven together, it seemed like there were more than four characters telling this monumentally important tale of intolerance. Mr. Talbott paints elaborate pictures that keep us hanging onto each and every word as if that word or the next is the most important word in the play.
Black Lab artistic director Jordan Jaffe skillfully directs The Submission with the exactness and precision of a surgeon's knife. The final confrontation takes place in a small motel room and could not be more claustrophobically blocked and staged, working to the maximum advantage for this explosive scene to rock and roll us into complete submission.
I cannot more highly recommend your submitting yourself to the tumultuous and meaningful journey that The Submission provides. A more thought-provoking and revelatory play you will not have experienced thus far this season."
• Houston Chronicle full review
Reviews for BOOM • September 2012
Black Lab Theatre's BOOM - Bombastically Funny, Exploding With Insight
"Every so often we are treated to a fresh and original look at the end of humanity. This is exactly what Black Lab Theatre is offering Houston with their production of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's big bang of a hit comedy BOOM ... This fresh take on the end of the world is a fantastic way for Black Lab Theatre to begin their new season in addition to being a wonderfully entertaining comedic tour de force.
Justin Doran's directorial leadership is on fantastic display in this production. Pacing never lags during the almost 90 minute, intermission-less show. No beat is dropped, and no cue is missed.
As Jules, Jordan Jaffe, Black Lab Theatre's Founding Artistic Director, is remarkable to experience. Jaffe's Jules is so intrinsically conceived and conceptualized that the audience truly feels they are viewing a real person and not a portrayal of a person ... Simply put, Jordan Jaffe is brilliant on the stage.
Lindsay Ehrhardt is sublime as the angst addled, superficially indulgent Jo. Barbara, as portrayed by Celeste Roberts, is the evening's shining star ... her proficient and enchanting comedic stylings reminded me of the best aspects of Cheri Oteri and Ana Gasteyer.
Black Lab Theatre's production of BOOM is bombastically funny and exploding with insight ... It is superb production, where every element works together to create a dazzlingly plausible picture that is sure to amuse while giving reasons to think."
• Broadway World Houston full review
Black Lab Theatre's BOOM Explodes With Brilliance On Every Level
"Peter Sinn Nachrieb's play is nothing short of miraculous as it stuns, surprises, and scintillates us for a total of 85 minutes. Boom is intelligent playwrighting at its most profound (the playwright was really a marine biologist) and the dialogue is contemporary, hip, many times hilarious, stabbing, and tremendously satisfying. Black Lab Theatre, one of Houston's newest, brightest, edgiest, hippest, and most extraordinary theatre companies, produces Boom with the dazzling fire and radiant resplendence of a comet coming at us at the speed of light.
Justin Doran's direction is so tight, crisp, and electrifying and moves the play forward with such breathtaking spontaneity and animation that we are completely sucked into the action as if we have been caught up in a giant whirlpool that pulls us around and around until we reach its climactic center. Jordan Jaffe, artistic director and founder of Black Lab Theatre, brilliantly captures the essence of Jules, the gay marine biologist, as he seemingly attempts the impossible -- to capture the heart, soul, and body of Jo, his Eve of the new world. Mr. Jaffe flawlessly inhabits the only completely sane character in this three person whirlwind of tangled emotions. Lindsay Ehrhardt triumphs magnificently as Jo with every tart, biting, penetrating arrow shot at Jules. Celeste Roberts brilliantly ties Boom together with a godlike countenance and consciousness ... and gives her character a stabbing, sarcastic edge as she masterfully manipulates the characters for our viewing pleasure.
I will be thinking about this phenomenal experience for many weeks to come. Boom truly is one of best and wildest theatrical rides of the season."
• Houston Chronicle full review
Boom from Black Lab Theatre: A Blissful Evening of Humor and Big Ideas
"The events are directed by Justin Doran with a sure hand, and the result is close to perfection. Despite its amusing ingenuity, this is a difficult play, and Doran permits the serious ideas to emerge through the comedic surface ... Doran has found the rich humor, the gravitas of the issues, which center around evolution, as well as the hidden, running joke that human nature, alas, will never change. Doran is perfectly paired with the genius of Nachtrieb.
Boom is a high-wire tightrope act, breathtaking in its courage and daring, and I'm recovered enough from laughter to report how delighted I am that Doran and the talented cast made it across to a successful conclusion.
A brilliant cast, wonderful character-driven humor, elaborate stage props and a driving comedic energy under a sure directorial hand create an evening of pure bliss. This is riveting theater, with some big ideas emerging through its hilarious humor. Don't miss it!"
• Houston Press Art Attack   full review
Reviews for Our House
Black Lab Theatre's Our House is Fast, Furious, Evocative Satire
"Theresa Rebeck's Our House, a very dark comedic satire, is receiving an astonishingly and surprising slick and remarkably memorable regional premiere by Black Lab Theatre.
Director David Rainey masterfully and magnificently works his magic as an astute theatre professional, exquisitely directing with an eye for every imaginable detail one of the best ensemble casts of the season. There is no weak link in the seven amazing actors that make Our House rock with the greatness of theatre conceived and produced at its best."
I was actually quite blown away by this second production by Black Lab Theatre, one of the newest and brightest theatres in Houston. Our House is, absolutely and without a doubt, a must-see, and one of my favorite plays of the season because of its message, its intensity, and the impressiveness with which it is performed and produced.
• Houston Chronicle full review
Our House from Black Lab Theatre: Must-See "TV"
"Don't adjust the horizontal and don't try to fix the vertical on this TV at Black Lab Theatre. It's programmed for satire of the biting kind. Anyway, you'll be too enthralled by this cautionary tale from Theresa Rebeck to move off the couch to change the channel.
The ensemble cast is well-nigh perfect, and Mike Yager is a standout. Wearing a Beavis and Butt-head T-shirt (thank you, costumer Macy Perrone), he's both psychotic and all-too real, sitting around the apartment in his underwear and swearing at the tube, when not confronting his roommates or dreaming of meeting his love/hate idol Jennifer. Passive/aggressive gets a whole new meaning in Yager's bone-chilling depiction. He's the roommate from hell, and we've all had one ... As perky anchor Jennifer, Kelley Peters exudes that Katie Couric false charm that hides a fist of iron. She's going to the top and nothing, repeat nothing, will stand in her way, except maybe wearing an angora sweater on live TV that sheds and makes her look like a "fucking tomato."
Under David Rainey's whiz-bang and perceptive direction, there's no static anywhere. The play moves to its inevitable conclusion and keeps us riveted throughout. You won't reach for the clicker. This is must-see TV!"
• Houston Press - Art Attack full review
Our House: A Black Lab Theatre Production
Our House, produced by Black Lab Theatre, is just one of those shows that begs to not be spoiled. The end of Act One brings with it one of the more genuinely shocking twists of any play I've seen in recent memory and who am I to go spilling key plot points? We're just going to have to skirt the specifics on this one, and focus on the general dark hilarity of both scripting and direction found in this regional premier production.
Director David Rainey is to be applauded for his skilled handling of both timing and styling in this production, as actors are permitted to overlap their lines and raise their voices to near painful pitches.
• The LoopScoop full review
Reviews for Farragut North
Farragut North, from Black Lab Theatre, Traces a Political Downfall
The political operatives who populate Farragut North talk a great game about loyalty and ideals, their motivation of making a better nation and a better world. Yet as Beau Willimon's play unfolds, it becomes apparent from virtually all the characters' actions that these people will stoop to some pretty low deeds in pursuit of their allegedly high aims.
• Houston Chronicle - 29-95.com full review