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Byline: ROZ LAWS Showbiz Reporter

OH I say! Lysette Anthony's latest role in a period drama is a shockingly saucy one. She appears on stage in an Agatha Christie whodunnit dressed in a skimpy pair of shorts.

The actress - dubbed The Face of the Eighties by David Bailey and still fabulous at 50 - is playing a sex-obsessed aristocrat in an Agatha Christie whodunnit.

She plays murder suspect Lady Elsa Greer in Go Back For Murder, alongside Liza Goddard, Sophie Ward, Robert Duncan and Gary Mavers.

It plays Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre for a week from Monday.

"Elsa is really awful and hilarious, I love her," says Lysette, best known for the sitcom Three Up, Two Down but who has also appeared in Hollyoaks and Coronation Street, and in Woody Allen's movie Husband and Wives.

"She's obsessed with sex. "Her sexuality is incredibly modern, but this is how it was written by Agatha Christie all that time ago.

"It's funny how every generation thinks they invented sex. "Christie writes embittered, posh middle-aged woman really well. People are shocked but it's very funny. She's wonderful to play, but a hideous character, fantastically selfish and a nightmare.

You want to slap her, quite frankly.

"I wish I could wear long tweed skirts on stage instead of the shorts. I can't even fit thermals underneath. It was fine in the summer but now I'm starting to get very cold."

Lysette reveals how the play has taken her mind off tragedy.

Her mother burned to death a few days before Christmas in a freak accident at her home. A manic depressive and schizophrenic, Bernadette Bennett suffered a heart attack before accidentally setting her clothes alight with a cigarette.

Since splitting with her partner, Lysette has juggled being a single mum to nine-year-old Jimi with going on tour in Go Back For Murder.

She reveals that she's kept her health together through the power of 'juicing'.

"I've been through so much stress, I was slowly falling apart at the seams," she says.

"Liza Goddard took me to see this amazing nutritionist and I bought a state-of-the-art juicer which has transformed my life. I'm quite religious about it now, making sure my body gets what it needs. My favourite is carrot, apple and ginger but beetroot juice is delicious and very good for energy. "We're very supportive towards each other as a company in this play. We are all that little bit older so there's none of that ridiculous ego going on."

Lysette was last in an Agatha Christie drama when she appeared in The Hollow on ITV. The Poirot mystery co-starred Edward Fox and Sarah Miles.

"When we filmed, I was pregnant with Jimi and trying to pretend I wasn't. It was painful," she says. "I went from a 30E bust to a 36JJ.

"In this Christie production I may get a bit fatter through all the fudge I'm eating. We keep a pot backstage and take a big bite before going on. The sugar rush is the biggest thrill we get, the highlight of our day!

"We only had two weeks rehearsal, during which time my mother died, so I was very grateful to Jimi helping me learn my lines."


Go Back For Murder, with Gary Mavers. Left as Veronica Cray in Poirot
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2013
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