DIRECTING

The Bloody Banquet

"For nearly four centuries, the theater world has been overlooking a crowd-pleaser, to judge by Brave Spirits Theatre’s diverting take on the revenge tragedy 'The Bloody Banquet.' ... Co-directors Casey Kaleba (a veteran fight director) and Charlene V. Smith keep the mayhem moving at a brisk pace in the Anacostia Arts Center’s black-box venue."
-- Celia Wren, The Washington Post

The Two Noble Kinsmen

"Both productions turn out to be delightfully comic, particularly—wait for it—The Two Noble Kinsmen. It is a play so rarely staged that the fact Brave Spirits is mounting it would be reason enough for DC-area Shakespeare geeks to see it; the fact that it is staged so intelligently and acted so deftly is reason for everybody else to check it out, too. ... How the Jailer's Daughter's story plays out in the context of the rest of this play's archaic plot is a credit to Smith, whose sure-handed direction lifts Kinsmen's plodding narrative to life by, counterintuitively, focusing on the play's ceremonial structure."
-- Eric Minton, Shakespeareances.com

"Director Charlene V. Smith sensitively charges Kinsmen with gender insight into the play’s men and women alike. ... Smith is especially strong with the women, from the robbed-of-power, pleading queens of the opening scene, to Hippolyta’s solidarity with them, to Emilia’s doubts and pressure from the complex role she has in the men’s conflict and survival, to a subplot involving an unnamed Jailer’s Daughter (Jenna Berk) who assists Palamon in his escape from prison and falls in love with him for her trouble. ... Her story flies forward, barreling towards its inevitable conclusion, and you never doubt for a second the complex arc of emotions played out by Berk, or the confidence with which Smith uses the storyline thematically. Between both shows, the Jailer’s Daughter is the best reason to visit these productions."
-- John Dellaporta, DCTheatreScene.com

Richard III

A production "where you can discover clarity of vision and superb talent flourishing under the mainstream radar. ... [Director Charlene V. Smith] captures the play’s rambunctiousness with a constant movement of cast members and scenes crowding one upon the other. ... [The production has] the most beautifully effective haunting I’ve ever seen, an example of how a visionary director and a cast playing in precise unison of voice and movement can do so much more with less. ... [The cast gives] their all in a small, bare space in the service of Shakespeare, unencumbered by a big-budget set, guided by a director with a vision as keen and a hand as sure as any in the business."
-- Eric Minton, Shakespeareances.com

A " jaunty production" with "crisp blocking and strong character acting." "Smith’s precise staging leaves audiences free to enjoy the writing, and the show’s clever ferris wheel of props and toys spotlights a host of minor characters with a lot of personality."
-- Robert Duffley, DCTheatreScene.com

The Spanish Tragedy

"Beautiful, strange, and violent, "The Spanish Tragedy" is a feast of revenge. ... The troupe — anchored by David Dubov as the aggrieved Hieronimo and Brian Harrington Moors as the nefarious Lorenzo — meets the challenge, delivering the antique verses with skill. ... "Tragedy" conveys a timeless message: Revenge is a dish best not served."
----Tim Follos, Express Night Out

ACTING

Juliet in Romeo and Juliet

"Smith is a moody Juliet, given to fits of impatience and pique over the slightest annoyances, struggling with this whole growing up crap. ... The subsequent scene [after Tybalt's death] between Juliet and Nurse is riveting as the women try to come to terms with the stunning turn of events ..."
-- Eric Minton, Shakespeareances.com

What, Lamb! What, Ladybird!

"Smith, a formidable Shakespearean actress in her own right, seamlessly juggles multiple personas as she swings, with abundant wit and charm, from Elizabethan thespian to contemporary pedagogue and dreamer and back again."
-- Tzvi Kahn, MDTheatreGuide.com: 5 stars

Jessie in A Thing for Redheads

"With a touch of Miley Cyrus and a dash of Britney Spears, Charlene V. Smith as pop star Jessie Morgan is poppin’ and lockin’ it ... Smith adds a terrifyingly realistic embodiment of the vapid stars that currently grace the covers of entertainment rags."
--Caitlin DeMerlis, DC Theatre Scene: 4 stars

"Charlene V. Smith plays a delightful 'air head' Jessie Morgan"
--Bob Anthony, Allartsreview4u.com.

Millie in Picnic

"director Sherrionne Brown evokes top-flight performances from everyone in the cast"
-- Dan Collins, The Examiner

"the principal actors all have fine moments and ultimately give winning performances ... Charlene V. Smith gives a sense of Millie's awkward entry into the adult world"
--Mike Giulian0, Towson Times

Julie in Jack the Ticket Ripper

"Smith and Gagne make a side-splitting team ... Smith portrays a convincing innocence in Julie, which is foiled by her later-revealed bizarre sexual fetishes (she gets hot for Jack after he kills a couple more people). Julie also shares her heart with the audience members, who are left catching their breath from laughter as she sings a song about Jack (”He Slays Me”) complete with feather boa and over-exaggerated Broadway vibrato. ... Smith and Gagne flawlessly propel the play with seamless momentum."
-- Caitlin DeMerlis, DC Theatre Scene: 5 stars, Pick of the Fringe

"Jack the Ticket-Ripper is filled with hilarious theater stereotypes, physical comedy, and brilliant one liners. ... Julie’s (Charlene Smith) very clever rendition of “He Slays Me” is a particular highlight. ... Jack should be on everyone’s Must See list."
-- Joan Wendland, Washington City Paper