Nick Coyle is best known for his screenwriting these days (episodes of Stan’s Bump and the Australian Netflix series Wellmania), but his roots are in the theatre.

If you were in Sydney circa 2007 onwards, you’d know his name thanks to plays such as Rommy, Hammerhead (is dead), 2018’s The Feather in the Web (staged by Griffn Theatre Company) and solo pieces such as Blue Wizard, in which he played an emissary from a distant crystal planet where everyone is gay.

This production is a showcase of monologues by Coyle: five characters in speech-making mode whose stories take unexpected, sometimes bizarre turns.

In the first, a groomsman (Andre de Vanny) unleashes a jaw-dropping wedding reception speech; in the second, a long-serving employee (Anna Houston) farewells her colleagues in unforgettable style over a slice of carrot cake.

Sandy Gore in Sparkling Darkly. Photo © Phil Erbacher

Actor Ed Oxenbould silences a courtroom with a shape-shifting victim impact statement and Sandy Gore delivers a memorable eulogy. Houston returns to play a graveyard shift radio announcer.

Individually, they’re all competent pieces of writing. Taken together (a non-stop 75 minutes on a black box stage), they can seem a touch repetitive in terms of storytelling direction and dynamics. All are well performed, however, especially by de Vanny (who featured here in last year’s excellent The Lonesome West, directed by Houston) and Gore.

It does sparkle at times, but the whole is the sum of its parts and no more.

Sparkling Darkly plays at the Old Fitzroy Theatre until 27 April.

Take the Limelight Reader Survey and you could win an Australian Digital Concert Hall gift voucher