If it wasn’t the first word then “suicide” must at least have been the second spoken onstage tonight. Norway.Today does not beat around the bush or hold any punches when it comes to dealing with its dark and often controversial theme: the act of taking one’s own life. But despite having the potential to fall into the trap of churning out successive, depressive and stereotyped monologues this production provides an innovative and invigorating (is that the right word?) look at teen suicide.

Julie meets August on an online chatroom having just declared her intention to kill herself. The pair meet and travel to a cliff edge overlooking a fjord in Norway over which they plan to throw themselves at the coming of the dawn. The play follows what could be their final night alive but what is also their first night together.

Igor Bauersima’s script is fantastic. The show tackles its dark subject matter with poise, energy and immense wit as the pair discover intimate but also universal parallels. The characters look to understand each other as they question free-will and what it is to choose one’s own path through life (or death?). It expertly turns societal conventions and attitudes on their head, prompting the audience to ask why is the taking of one’s own life never seen as a rational or reasonable thing to do? Gabriele Colferai’s direction allows the hilarity to punctuate the intimacy and as a result the show maintains a perfect balance. The use of a video camera and projection is inspired and a homage to, rather than a steal from, American Beauty.

Leoni Hughes is superb as the strong-willed and opinionated, new-age nihilist Julie. The walls she has built around herself are all the more stirring as she steadily lets them fall. Meanwhile you can’t help but fall in love with Filippo Panigazzi’s August. Injecting vibrant energy into every action his seeming cluelessness is a mask of his own as he pulls philosophy out of apparent word-vomit.

This is Waiting For Godot brought up to (and sometimes seemingly on) speed; the sort of production that has the audience muttering “Kafkaesque” as they leave the auditorium. Norway.Today presents a beautiful insight into how people are with each other and themselves when the fear of death is nullified. A play about young people for all ages, cultures and creeds, this production marries empathy with hilarity to profound effect.

Norway.Today is playing The Etcetera Theatre until 14 October 2016. For more information and tickets, see the Ticketea website.