'There I was lurking about in green tights, frightening little children and thinking, 'Oh please let me put on a corset and speak some real lines as opposed to rhyming couplets.' Kate O'Mara (right) has played the Shrew four times, and Cleopatra three times, but to keep working as an actress, you have to accept jobs that are less than ideal. Stuck doing panto a couple of seasons ago, she kept herself sane by writing a show for herself and her husband to perform.

'I wanted to do something about love, sex and marriage and the problems attendant thereupon. I'm potty about the 17th century so it seemed a good idea to piece together something from that. Besides, it means that you don't have the problems of royalties.'

O'Mara became a household name 19 years ago in BBC's haulage soap The Brothers - 'a bloody good part' - but until then she worked solidly in theatre. Her experience of the major classical roles puts her in a very good position to create this show.

'We concentrate on the 1690s. There was an air of cynicism abroad, a dissatisfaction with the times which is hugely topical. Kiss and Tell is a love story of a couple moving from idealism, through disharmony to renewal, via romance, debauchery and everything else.' With the cream of 17th century writers to work from, there's probably not a rhyming couplet in sight.

'Kiss and Tell' is at the Greenwich Theatre for one night on Sunday 7 Aug (081-858 7755)

(Photograph omitted)