David Glass Ensemble
“The Hansel Gretel Machine is loosely based on the Hansel and Gretel fairytale. On the bare bones of this structure are plastered layers of symbolism and imagery. It is a dream play, with all the floating, intangible metaphors and sensations of a nightmare.........It is said that we make all our important judgements of people on their appearance, not their words. The David Glass Ensemble's work plunges through this chink in the emotional armour to leave its spectators spiritually shot-blasted. The sense of searing loss which it leaves in the soul is beyond words...........It is a piece that works on levels too deep to identify or enumerate.This is the first production in an ambitious programme from the Ustinov's new associate director Fiona Clarke. If it is any way representative of what is to come, then cosy 'Prior to West End' Bath won't know what's hit it.”
Independent  ★★★★★
Don Giovanni
“Genuinely heart stopping.......simple but most effective......this was a vibrant and vastly enjoyable performance that made excellent use of its surroundings through simple yet imaginative lighting and staging effects. A vibrant sense of excitement pervaded the whole occasion”
Opera Now  
L’isola disabitata
“ The Linbury’s stage is laid bare – tabs removed and sightlines to the back and side walls and the set – with its large concrete circle dominating the stage, looked as if a bomb had hit it, with broken rocks strewn around the side. ...... If you can’t get to it (and, not surprisingly, it is sold out), hope that ROH2 plan an early revival. ”
WhatsOnStage  ★★★★★
“ The Linbury, exposed to its bare walls, is the scene of an environmental disaster. The sisters live in a post-apocalyptic world, inhabiting a desolate, ruined landscape so that one wonders how the flora and fauna survive which Silvia assures us sustain her. Gernando and Enrico arrive wearing suits designed to protect them against chemical and nuclear warfare, but disrobe on arrival on the island.”
Opera Britannia  ★★★★
La Wally
“ Opera Holland Park's terrific new production, unfussily directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans and designed by Jamie Vartan, solves the problem elegantly by avoiding naturalism: the Tirol is suggested by means of an off-white tarpaulin raised and lowered by ropes, and no attempt is made to present Tosca -like leaps into the abyss.This is Opera Holland Park at its best -a genuine revival and not just the exhumation of a corpse.Covent Garden should take it on now.”
“Now there's a challenge to concentrate the mind of any opera designer, leave alone one, Jamie Vartan, working within Opera Holland Park's limited resources. But it's amazing what you can do with a succession of ropes and pulleys and one humungous tarpaulin. With a little stretching of the audience's collective imagination and some stage-hand muscle you can create peaks and ravines and even, during Catalani's beautiful final act prelude, have the entire mountain range rear up before us.”
“ Jamie Vartan's extraordinary set – all ropes, pulleys and whirling white tarpaulin – allows Lloyd-Evans to link her private tragedy with the convulsions of nature in ways that are thrillingly effective.... Provocative stuff, hugely recommended.”
Guardian  ★★★★
“ In Jamie Vartan’s looming and unsettling set, he appears to have customised a disused warehouse with props to see him through his story. On old-fashioned reel-to-reel tape-recorders, various voices and sound effects from his life pop up at the touch of a button.”
Financial Times  ★★★★
“ Designer Jamie Vartan’s bullish, physically overbearing set (a deserted warehouse) seems to emerge from the walls of the Black Box in perhaps one of the best uses of the space in this theatre’s history. Possibly a depiction of Thomas’ warped brain, vast steel joists tower over the audience as they grow from a stained concrete floor. It is a chamber for violence, confusion, histrionics and effects of almost Christopher Nolan-esque proportions.....this production of Misterman is a celebration of technical skill, luscious writing, extravagant acting and high production values. What are Arts Festivals good for? Finding ways to match-make an interesting script to a fine actor, aided by virtuosic technical crew. A summer blockbuster is born. It happens here. ”
Irish Theatre Magazine  
“.....it is given a monumental staging. Jamie Vartan's exposed two-storey set is a vast warehouse strewn with tyres and cast-off furniture. Murphy tears through this bleak space, playing a cast of increasingly hostile small-town characters.”
Guardian  ★★★★
“The National’s Lyttelton stage is an immense performing area and Cillian Murphy isn’t the most physically imposing actor. Yet his bravura one-man turn in Enda Walsh’s odd and unsettling account of a disturbed Irish loner sees him fill the space with the wattage of a cast of dozens, as he runs and jumps about the imposing split-level set.
Evening Standard  ★★★★
“ Jamie Vartan’s amazing design stretches back almost as far as the eye can see, with concrete platforms, piles of junk, countless reel-to-reel tape recorders and illuminated crucifixes........the idea of a one-man show on the vast Lyttelton stage might seem hubristic, but the sheer scale of this production plays a big part in the show’s often stunning impact. Thomas Magill, a small-town, mother-fixated man in his thirties with a big thing about God, has taken refuge in a vast, disused semi-derelict industrial space for reasons we don’t learn until the end of this 90-minute play.”
Telegraph  ★★★★
The Third Policeman
“ Marvelous...and it looked gorgeous.”
Critics choice - Irish Times  
“ Jamie Vartan’s striking stage design gives director Niall Henry a large open book (literally) from which he can build his layered production. Multiple entrances, exits and journeys across the stage, are fluidly choreographed with a slow expressionistic physicality.”
Irish Times