Master Mystery Productions enters uncharted waters in a new collaboration with Ridgecrest Community Theater Troupe. The two organizations are joining forces to present “Mutiny on the Sea Witch,” which is also the first Master Mystery Production to feature child actors. Billed as “a pirate’s treasure mystery,” this play is an utterly charming, entertaining and funny family treat.

The play kicks off in classic children’s adventure style. Ten-year-old Suzie (played to perfection by Evie Hoff) is telling stories with her friends. She launches into the tale of her ancestor, a legendary female pirate by the name of Cutlass Kate.

The action switches to the Sea Witch, where the audience gets to watch the antics of Kate (Devanne Fredette) and her sometimes-scurrilous crew. This is Master Mystery Production’s largest and most elaborate set and it is perfect – evoking the deck of the pirate’s ship with the right number of well-chosen set decorations. 

The interaction of the pirates is entertaining and funny. There is a real sense of swashbuckling adventure here, but it is kept light-hearted enough for all ages to enjoy. One of the main characters is the scene-stealing Polly the Parrot portrayed by Janis Kunz with the help of a puppet made by the theater group itself.

The plot is all about finding buried treasure and who is or isn’t wanting to start a mutiny.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Master Mystery Production without a mystery. Without giving too much away, the mystery in this is a little less deadly than in other productions in keeping with the theme of family-friendly entertainment. It is a good story, though, and when the solution is revealed at the end it makes perfect sense. The Daily Independent guessed wrong, by the way.

The play was once again written and directed by Daniel Stallings. The talent, versatility and professionalism of the young actors were impressive. In addition to Evie Hoff, the kids in the intro include Janelle Jerome, Elspeth Pomazal, Elodea Pomazal and Bernadette Hoff. 

The children grab the audience’s attention in the first scene and some of them are back in small parts on the pirate ship, which gives the production a charming continuity. Also worth a mention is Kenny Hoff as Jaq the sea cook. He has quite a few funny lines and steals a scene or two.

Fredette, one of the few Master Mystery alums taking part, delivers a strong performance as Cutlass Kate. Violette Huff and Cosette Huff do a perfect job portraying pirates First Mate Quick and Quartermaster Joyce. Jonathan Blair is likewise perfect as Coxswain Pierce. These three anchor the play (get it?) in pirate reality with their tough, no-nonsense demeanors.

The always-talented Heather McGaha is also excellent as the tough Moll Flint. Harrison Jerome also does a good job portraying an Officer of the British Navy.

With some of them doing double duty, Elizabeth Pomazal, Tiffany Cheney, Elspeth Pamazal, Janelle Jerome, Evie Hoff and Harrison Jerome nicely round out the cast by playing the pirate’s crew.

Costumes and makeup are excellent, especially the clever interpretation of Polly the Parrot. Brianne Hardwick gets a special nod for her exciting sword fight choreography.

After the production, the audience is invited up onstage to meet the parrot and steer the wheel which completes the experience. The Daily Independent highly recommends this production for families as well as kids of all ages.

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