A little murder never hurt anyone in this NLT play

pseligson@newsobserver.comMarch 31, 2014 

  • ‘A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody’

    When: 7 p.m. April 4-5, 3 p.m. April 6 and 8 p.m. April 11-12.

    Where: The Hut, 104 S. Front St,, Smithfield.

    How much: $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

    Reservations: 919-934-1873.

This character’s New Year’s resolution is to murder his wife, but don’t worry, the show is a comedy.

The Neuse Little Theatre’s next play, opening April 4, is “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody,” the second-to-last show in a season of comedies.

The show follows a bumbling fool named Matthew Perry, a wealthy businessman who watches enviously as one of his friends travels the world after his wife dies.

Perry decides he’d have more fun too in if his wife died. “He doesn’t want to have to divorce his wife and give her half of everything, so he decides to kill her instead,” said director Matt Gore.

“But the thing is, he’s so stupid that we can never take him seriously,” Gore said. “All his murder attempts are so far fetched and doomed to fail that it’s OK to laugh.”

The play takes place over an entire year, starting on New Year’s Day, then moving through the seasons before ending the next New Year’s. Six people are in the cast: Perry; his intelligent wife, Julia; their daughter, Bunny, who is less intelligent than her father; Bunny’s fiance; the butler; and a detective.

“It’s basically Alfred Hitchcock meets ‘Weekend at Bernie’s,’” Gore said.

Everyone is a bumbling fool except Julia and arguably the butler, who offers sarcastic commentary.

“It’s a comedy that can appeal to a wide range of audiences, from 80 years old to 8 years old,” Gore said.

“You’re going to like this show,” he added. “If you watch sitcoms, you’ll recognize several characters in this show. It’s like an episode of ‘Frasier’ with a morbid twist.”

Bethany Ruffino plays Julia, Matthew’s wife. “Julia is the only smart one in the entire play,” Ruffino said. “She’s the only one who has an idea of what’s going on, and to mess with her husband, she doesn’t tell anybody she knows what’s going on.”

Ruffino said Julia is hopelessly devoted to her husband. “She loves him to death even though he’s an absolute moron,” she said. “Loves her daughter, even though she’s just about as smart as her dad.”

At its heart, the play is a love story, Ruffino said. “(Julia) wants to make all of Matthew’s dreams come true, but obviously, she doesn’t want to die, so she tries to keep his fantasies alive that he’s going to kill her, but she really doesn’t believe he’ll ever be able to accomplish it,” Ruffino said.

As for the rest of the cast, Matthew loves himself, Bunny loves her fiance, and he loves her. The detective loves the law, and the butler loves the idea of love. “Sometimes love is blind,” Ruffino said.

Cast members said the play is safe for young children; any jokes that might be considered inappropriate would go over a kid’s head.

Tickets are $13 in advance or $15 at the door.

Seligson: 919-836-5768

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