The Observatory


Snuff Box Theatre Company
Underbelly

At a quiet checkpoint in the Middle East on a hot and difficult day, an angry Scientist is shot by a soldier upon refusing to open his bag. The resultant political storm falls upon the soldier in question, and with the top brass demanding a quick and quiet result, he finds himself in a hopeless situation. Cutting between his home life with his wife and the interrogation of the Military Police, the play tries to find some solution in the quagmire.

What with the army basis and current event framework, inevitably comparisons will be drawn with other plays such as Blackwatch, but The Observatory is largely a pedestrian affair in comparison. The story, while bleak enough, is a tad on the undercooked side. The MPs come off at first like comic relief, and they never really feel as if they're anything but a device. What's more the final conclusion seems slightly ridiculous, even though it's fairly plausible. Otherwise a good performance with some touching moments, mostly delivered by the dead scientist in sporadic scenes between the action.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan