A Monkey With Cymbals


Aphra Behn – spy, writer and female libertine – a one-woman show.


First performed in the Women and War Festival at the So & So Arts Club 2016. It then toured the UK in 2017, and recently streamed in the Off Online Fringe Festival 2020.


It's 1677 and an audience getting ready to watch Aphra Behn's The Rover are in for a surprise. For the show has been cancelled and in its place Aphra herself recounts the extraordinary tale of her time as a spy for King Charles II in the Dutch Wars, and how she became the first professional female writer. Complete with excerpts from Behn's letters, poetry and plays, this vivid and thought-provoking one-woman show brings one of theatre's most brilliant raconteurs back to life.


Written and performed by Claire Louise Amias

Directed by Pradeep Jey

Costume by Anna Sørensen Sargent


★★★★Remote Goat

★★★★Female Arts

"Entertaining, witty, well written... insightful" A Younger Theatre

"A strong script and a strong performance." Shy, Strange, Manic

The Masks of Aphra Behn


Copyright, all rights reserved 2012                                  

Show flyer - print front
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom
press to zoom

Photographs by             Greg Veit                



**** Remote Goat

"Thoroughly Entertaining... Amias has crafted seamlessly the language of the day with fresh words which still retain the classic feel of the period... Pradeep Jey’s faultless direction always serves the story while the costume by Anna Sorensen Sargent looks splendid... Claire Louise Amias has all the qualities needed to perform a one-woman play. She has a strong, well modulated voice, the ability to switch character in an instant, and a repertoire of assorted voices with which to vary the narrative."


**** Female Arts

"You'll be hard pressed to find a show quite as original and enjoyable as this one...Amias as Behn is meticulous yet personable... Amias' passion for the projects shines through every detail of the show."


A Younger Theatre

"Through movement, various voices, accents and physical transformations, Amias alternated between the narrator and characters seamlessly. The emotion she portrayed translated as real, current and authentic which she used to immerse the audience into the boisterous existence that was Aphra Behn...The overall production was entertaining, witty, well written and insightful into the life of a woman who at times seems forgotten"


Shy, Strange, Manic

"The actress Claire Louise Amias delivery was strong throughout, and could easily move from heartbreak to humour seamlessly.  She manages to make you forget that this hour long performance is actually a monologue, as she switches between characters in conversation. A strong script and a strong performance."


Audience Response:


“The Masks of Aphra Behn, written and performed by Claire Louise Amias was excellent. A compelling story of a fascinating woman”

“Stunning performance by Claire Louise Amias”

“Fabulous writing and acting”

“Excellent show written and performed by Claire Louise Amias. Highly recommended.”

“Just spent a charming evening with Aphra Behn (AKA Claire Louise Amias), Go and see… beautifully performed and wonderfully engaging. “

“Brilliant writing and performance by the very talented Claire Louise Amias”

“A huge congratulations to A Monkey With Cymbals for the brilliant ‘The Masks of Aphra Behn’”.

“Thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s intimate evening with a spellbinding Aphra Behn. Thanks to Claire Louise Amias for a fabulous performance.”

“So good. Don’t miss this tour de force”

“Chuffed to have caught the amazing performance of Claire Louise Amias in this one-woman show.

“A fascinating and brilliantly executed piece”

“Really well observed, lovely characters, very precise changes. Fascinating story too – I loved it.

“An extraordinary tale exquisitely acted. Gorgeous costume”

“Saw Claire Louise Amias in The Masks of Aphra Behn this weekend. Loved her performance and spotlighting of the great Aphra”.


301_The Masks of Aphra Behn square

Tour dates 2017:


8th March, 9.30 pm - Sweet Venues, Brighton

10th March, 7.30 pm - Vera Fletcher Hall, Thames Ditton

13th March, 7.30 pm - White Bear Theatre, London

7th July, 7 pm - John Gieldgud Theatre, RADA Festival, London

13th & 21st July, 7 pm - Women & War Festival, Streatham Theatre

12th & 13th August, 4pm - Edinburgh Festival, Black Market Venue 399

30th September, 7.30 pm - Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford

6th October, 7.30 pm - Rose Playhouse, Bankside, London

20th October, 7.30 pm - Stafford Gatehouse, Stafford

28 October, 7.30 pm - The New Wimbledon Theatre, London