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Cor Theatre’s “A Map of Virtue” Review – Terror-Filled Thriller

By Amy Munice

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Walking out the door from Cor Theatre’s “A Map of Virtue” you too might be thanking your lucky stars that you got out of their alive.  Not that there is anything lacking in the production—quite the contrary. 



At first it’s a leisurely stroll into the terrain of terror, but you get there soon enough.  By play’s end you may wish to go back to safer territory of garden variety child abuse, and then it hits you that that’s exactly where you’ve been.



There are so many perfect touches in this production that it’s easy to lose count.  Starting with the play’s name, which conjures a Jane Austin novel you never got around to reading, it sets you up for the total startle and jolt when the thriller begins to thrill.  Then there is the exquisite set design by Tierra G. Novy using hundreds of origami cranes, making you wonder if she knows that children folding 1000 cranes on Hiroshima Day while meditating the choice between nuclear holocaust or world peace is a custom in parts of Japan and elsewhere.   



The script would suggest an allusion to Hitchcock’s birds and using these birds, minimalist suggestions of trees,  as well as a banjo made of circular saw blades and a paint tray are pitch perfect ornaments to the script.



And what a script it is!  (Playwright Erin Courtney.)  With chapter headings announced that run forwards and then in reverse, we watch the superb cast (Scottie Caldwell, Mallory Nees, Will Von Vogt, Nick Mikula, Ruben Adorno, Eleni Pappageorge, and Adam Benjamin) tell the tale in ever so conversational tones of chitchat, making the terror at the core of this play come at you like a slow burn.



If you hated the movie “Deliverance” be forewarned that this is probably the last play you want to venture out in the cold to see. 



Company Artistic Director and Director of this play, Tosha Fowler, no doubt played a large role picking “A Map of Virtue” as the new theatre group’s inaugural production. 




It tells us to keep a watch for more from her direction and to expect anything, except perhaps remounts of Mary Poppins.


Now Through February 14


At the Rivendell Theater in Edgewater

5779 N. Ridge Avenue


For tickets or information call 866 811 4111 or visit the Cor Theatre website.




Photos: Ryan Bourque

Published on Jan 12, 2015

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