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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Terror attacks play wows festival
Susan Sarandon
Sarandon won an Oscar in 1996 for Dead Man Walking

Hollywood couple Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon enjoyed a triumphant first night for 11 September play The Guys at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Their "staged reading" was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by a sell-out audience at the 600-capacity at the Royal Lyceum Theatre.

Robbins's performance as a fire chief captivated theatregoers, while Sarandon also won audience plaudits as the editor who helps him compose eulogies for four men lost in the Twin Towers rubble.

World Trade Center wreckage
The script is based on a true story about Twin Towers firefighters
On a stage dressed only with chairs and tables, and illuminated by single spotlights, Robbins and Sarandon were utterly believable.

They were brought back on for repeated bows by rapturous applause, and a crowd of more than 50 people later gathered outside the stage door to greet them.

All three nights of the play had sold out well in advance of the stars' arrival in Edinburgh, reportedly with their three teenage children.

The play is Sarandon's first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, although Robbins has appeared before, staging a play he wrote and directed with a Los Angeles theatre group in 1989.

Earlier this week Sarandon, 55, confessed to being nervous about her first stage appearance in 18 years.

'Absolute delight'

She won an Oscar in 1996 for Dead Man Walking and has also starred in Thelma And Louise and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Her actor-director partner Robbins, 43, is best known for films such as The Shawshank Redemption, Jacob's Ladder and The Player.

The play first opened in December at New York's 75-seat Flea Theatre - just a few blocks from the scene of the wreckage of the towers.

Tim Robbins
Robbins has performed at Edinburgh Fringe before
The Lyceum's artistic director Kenny Ireland said: "We're absolutely delighted that the show came to Edinburgh.

"Tim and Susan were wonderful."

Audience members were equally appreciative, and theatregoer Lisa Roberts said the performance had been "brilliant".

"It was giving the American point of view and gave an insight into what it must have been like to live in New York at the time," she told BBC News Online.

Visiting student Simon Pittman said: "The way the play was written was that it was everybody's tragedy."

Ovation

Both stars are reportedly planning to talk about the play and their performances on Friday.

Also making its Fringe debut on Wednesday night was Steven Berkoff's poem-in-progress, Requiem for Ground Zero, at the Assembly Rooms.

It was also well received, with many audience members giving it a standing ovation.

Wednesday night's other big event was the opening screening of the Edinburgh film festival.

The critically-acclaimed Morvern Callar, starring Minority Report's Samantha Morton, was attended by Scotland's first minister Jack McConnell, as well as director Lynne Ramsay and politician Sir David Steel.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

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13 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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