C.S. Lewis Academys production of A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday

The C.S. Lewis Academy high school theater troupe hopes audiences will have as much fun watching its performance of “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody” as it has, because the cast and crew have certainly had their share preparing and putting it on.

Both a murder mystery and a farcical comedy, the Ron Bernas play will wrap up its two-week run with 7 p.m. shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the school’s performing arts center on Wynooski Street.

“There are lots of twists and turns, lots of accidents and characters dodging this and that murder attempt,” high school principal and director Mike McConaughey said. “Despite that plot, it’s light and comical. The intent is definitely not dark in any way. Everything is approached in a very light-hearted way.”by: SETH GORDON - Killer humor - Annette Emmons and John Hampton rehearse a scene from C.S. Lewis Academy's production of the comedic whodunnit `A Murder Never Hurt Anybody.' The high school troupe will present dessert performances at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the C.S. Lewis Performing Arts Center on the Wynooski campus.

The six-character, two-act play is both a spoof and homage to screwball comedies and stage mysteries, taking place entirely in one room of rich married couple Matthew and Julia’s mansion.

Desiring the life of a jet-setting bachelor, Matthew (played by AJ Spivey) pledges to kill his rather bored wife, who, in turn, sets her mind to foiling his plot and avoiding the traps she easily sees coming. Their cat-and-mouse dance begins the high jinks, as a string of mysterious murders eventually draw in the rest of the cast, including clueless Detective Plotnik (Hannah Spivey).

The tragedies unnerves Bunny (Mikaela Raudsepp), the couple’s less-than-sharp daughter, causing her to consider calling off her wedding to Donald (John Hampton), who stumbles upon Julia and family butler Buttram (Sam Swan) in what he mistakes for a compromising position, throwing suspicion upon Julia as the murderer.

“We do a lot of murder mysteries for our fall show, but I like this variation,” said senior Annette Emmons, who plays Julia. “It has more twists, a little more of a thinking one where the audience kind of has to follow along with it, rather than it just being an in-your-face kind of comedy. There’s more of an intellectual side to it, so that’s really fun.”

As the play bounces back and forth from slapstick comedy to witty banter, the biggest challenge for the actors has been to find the balance between developing true depth of character and playing up the humor.

“They’re approaching that farce feel, but not becoming Three Stooges slapstick silliness, where the characters actually have some depth,” McConaughey said. “The witty banter is very fun. That’s what attracted me to the script itself, just the way the characters communicate and the fun way that is brought back, very circular, in the show.”

Having lost several members to graduation, especially among its technical crew, the troupe has worked hard to develop chemistry.

“It’s way easier because it’s a small cast and we all kind of double up with the script in different scenes,” AJ Spivey said of the process. “It’s been really cool watching it all come together.”

The show is also a dessert and the techies will also be tasked with providing table service for the audience. Cost is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

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