Enquiry Concerning Hereafter

Theatre (historical, drama)

  • Accessibility: May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
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  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


David Hume and Adam Smith, based in Edinburgh, were giants of The Enlightenment of the 18th century. They were also the dearest of friends who stimulated, challenged, loved, pushed and supported each other as they forged their profound ideas that still very much shape our world today. Enquiry Concerning Hereafter is the story of Smith and Hume’s final days. They grieve because old age and disease are separating them, perhaps for eternity. Charon arrives to ferry them across the river Styx. This play is performed in the very residence where Smith spent his last 12 years.

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Hedda Bird 98 days ago

A play of ideas brought wonderfully to life through excellent performances and fantastic direction. Has the entire audience deeply engaged throughout. Much enjoyed it.

Richard Mellish 99 days ago

This was my last show (of 29) this year and a fine way to finish. Thoroughly recommended.

Kenny Burnham 105 days ago

Compared with French counterparts Voltaire and Comte, Scottish philosophers are perhaps, less well known amongst the general public. The protagonists thrown up by the Scottish Enlightenment are, no question; their equal. Enquiry Concerning Hereafter goes some way to redress this. Duane Kelly’s play, directed by Andy Corelli, presents the friendship between David Hume and Adam Smith in their autumn years. They debate, laugh, cajole, challenge and support each other as they stave off the impending tap of Charon’s staff.

We first meet a less than healthy Hume in his bed. As he wakes he is confronted with the ethereal figure of Charon (Ian Sexon) who has come to ferry him across the Styx. Hume plays for time in order that he might see his good friend Smith one last time. It would, after all, be a shame to waste the food prepared by his house-keeper. Charon agrees, indicating that he will not be far. The touching relationship between Hume and Smith, subsequently played respectively by Mark Coleman and Dougal Lee, powers the play beautifully as the two air their latest philosophical musings wondering all the while what context might be had against a lifetime of research.

As in life, so in death must a river run through their friendship. And Smith’s move into Hume’s erstwhile home, Panmure House, does nothing to change this as the Forth is replaced by the Styx. The Lecture Room at Panmure House - the backdrop to this play - readily summons the
atmosphere which would’ve held sway during their sporadic meetings. The nuanced performances are perfectly aliased to dialogue such that the metatextuality of philosophical discourse imparts two minds entwining, diverging before finally aligning. We witness the essence of true friendship with all kinks and quirks present. These characters are
quite simply a joy to watch…perhaps the reason why Charon gave them a few extra minutes to share in each other’s company.


Steve Pairman 112 days ago

A fabulous and engaging show. All 3 actors were superb, enacting the relationship between David Hume and Adam Smith in a clever and humerous way , yet still covering (as much a could be done in 75 mins) some of the history and impact both had on society then and now.

Jean Hanff Korelitz 115 days ago

A site specific treat with three wonderful actors doing great work, individually and as an ensemble. Thoroughly enjoyed.

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AllEdinburghTheatre.com (3/5 stars) 97 days ago

it has considerable appeal, both visually and intellectually.

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One4Review (4/5 stars) 114 days ago

A fascinating and informative piece of theatre, which I would highly recommend catching.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.