Fifty years of Theatrical History, wrapped around primary materials from before and after Amsterdam’s seminal Festival of Fools, with glimpses of Copenhagen, Athens, London, Paris, Tunisia, Iberia, Latin America, Australia, India, Japan, The U.S.A. and Canada.

A complete set of original multi-lingual programs from Amsterdam’s bold and daring Festival of Fools between 1975 and 1984 is at the core of this book. There are occasional pages in native languages, but relevant names are still the same, and they prove that the Amsterdam Fools could perform with the biggest names and best practitioners of Physical Theater.

Barnaby’s conversation with Johnny Melville:

Conversation in depth with Clown Revolutionary Johnny Melville, after Johnny introduces our book —

Barnaby reacts to Johnny Melville’s ‘Chair Sketch’ from a 1981 performance:

In addition to 50 years of history, Johnny includes photos, and valuable information about ordering our book, including wholesale and private sales.

Michael Evans presented an introductory book-talk at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt lake City’s prestigious Leonardo Museum on May 26, 2022 in Library Square:

Display with original 1975 poster, Michael’s first memoir, and related books about Dance, Mime, Clowns, and the successful phenomenon of Physical Theater.
The Leonardo at night

Ken Sanders Rare Books alternated having Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools on display in a glass case and with the Art Books in the east parlor of the historical shop.

Ken Sanders Rare Books placed “Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools” in their front display case, and included our book in Radio West’s Summer Books list sponsored by KUER 90.1 FM.

Previously, on May 20, 2022, Michael had been a guest on KRCL 90.9 FM’s RadioACTive, where he was interviewed by Lara Jones and KRCL’s Punk Rock Farmer Al Grazzi

Front: Al (Aldine Strychnine) Grazzi, Mike Evans, Lara Jones;
Back: Members of “The Melons,”

LINK: RadioACTive May 20, 2022
(Michael R. Evans, author/editor of Amsterdam Compleat Fools, a compendium of all the programs from Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools 1975 to 1984, in color, plus graphics and programs from related festivals.)

NEW REVIEW from Adam Gertsacov in Barcelona —

CLOWNLINK 19, September 2022

(More reviews are available following the Book Extracts below.)

Festival of Fools Barcelona 2022 was a big success for our book, and absolutely delightful onstage, backstage, and outside, with the talented Street Theatre Bootcamp. Such good-spirited talent everywhere in at least five different theaters. Johnny Melville and Michael Evans introduced Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools from the stage prior to the shows during our second Cabaret Weekend.

Mike set up a table and offered books for sale in the lobby. All of the books were sold.

The book-talks for Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools were scheduled for September 2022 during the Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona:

On September 17 and 18, Michael Evans and Johnny Melville presented the book prior to Barcelona’s Festival of Fools Cabarets.


Trans-Atlantic communications between fools in Benidorm Spain, the Duck Derby in Whitefish Montana (near Glacier National Park,) and Amsterdam Netherlands — with Mediterranean clown Leo Bassi, Scottish composer Alan (Gunga) Purves, and Comet 67P I Churyumov Gerasimenko.
(Click to enlarge.)

Jazz and Funk Drummer Alan Purves also composes music made with woodworking saws and kitchen items. His album “All By My Shelf” was produced by fellow sonic wizard, keyboardist Davey Norket.



Joan Borgman — Leafing through the pages of these archives and essays brought me back to Amsterdam to meander through familiar paths, as well as those I did not wander before.
It was thrilling to learn what the artists pursued, and the lives they are living. The connections between the work of those profiled in the ”Pack of Jokers” with the participants of the Festival of Fools truly show the network between all the fools worldwide.
Whether you were there or not, if you have any interest in the history of Indoor, outdoor, theatrical, or street performance, this book is a must for your library. Thank you, Mike and Johnny, for tackling this project.

Joan Merwyn — “Everybody plays the fool sometimes..”  but not everybody gets to experience so many Fools, from an entire decade and beyond, all together in one place.
Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools is THE must-have memorabilia book, which takes us on a journey, from 1975-1984, through the lens of international mime-clown-foolery and deeply into important gatherings and Festivals which celebrated the renewal  and renaissance of these once ancient, mysterious art forms.
   As a still-active participant in this incredibly rich movement of performance innovation, I am excited to share with anyone who will listen, the rare treasures contained in this 630 page tribute, with memorabilia and commentaries by Michael Evans and Johnny Melville and a forward by Jango Edwards.
   So many diverse performing artists and creative companies emerged during that time, 1975-1984, with backgrounds of mime, dance, acting, clown, music and improvisation. They/we became the embodiment of a contemporary movement, now referred to as “New Vaudeville”, “Physical Theatre” and “Performance Art” (terms that had not yet emerged into mainstream consciousness at the time).
   They/we were The Innovators, The Risk Takers, The Explorers without a map, who trained hard and leaped into new frontiers of circus-inspired, theatrical and movement expression. Wherever one went, these performers were appearing and disappearing like archetypal phantoms, in outdoor venues and indoor theaters, in streets, subways, parks, village squares, rooftops and ultimately finding themselves united, at the Festival of Fools in Amsterdam.
    Not all of the performers and artists in the collection remain with us but this book will help us to never forget the uplifting, heart-wrenching shenanigans we Fools all share(d).
    The contents of this hardbound labor of love are a visual smorgasbord with commentaries of the Festival of Fools’ theatrical programs, program notes, archived materials and memorabilia. It also includes important content about surrounding festivals, including the London International Mime Festival, where I performed with The Adaptors in 1987.
   This book ought to be available in every library in the US and abroad; it should be in Lincoln Center archives; it needs to be made available to all people and researchers who have a passion for the performing arts and who are interested in contemporary, theatrical, boundary-dissolving innovation and experimentation, which exploded onto the scene during the final decades of the 20th century.
 Joan Merwyn
 Artistic Director/Performer/Educator
 Joan Merwyn Physical Theater

*”Everybody Plays the Fool” is a 1972 song, first recorded by American R&B group The Main Ingredient, written by J. R. Bailey, Rudy Clark and Ken Williams


Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools is available at online retail outlets like Barnes & Noble and Amazon for retail outlet prices. ISBN Number: 978069215010-9 Contact Johnny from his BLOG or email about wholesale arrangements and institutional sales.


ALSO: Watch for Amsterdam’s Compleat Fools as a three volume set of bright beautiful Kindles, Nooks, or other popular eBook readers and devices!


Online Scans of Festival of Fools Posters from Amsterdam

Find your favorite Fool ————————————————————————–

Links: First Amsterdam Festival of Fools 1975Festival of Fools 1976Festival of Fools 1977


Links: Festival of Fools 1978Festival of Fools On Tour in England 1979Theatre Des Nations Festival of Fools 1980

Links: Festival of Fools Op Straat 1982A film with WKRP’s Howard Hessman: Looking for Jango and the Festival of Fools Amsterdam 1983Festival of Fools Finale 1984


Original Home Page: Complete Programs from Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools 1975 to 1984


First Worldwide Edition of the memoir by Michael Evans
Original text and graphics in a high-quality paperbound package.
The Great Salt Lake Mime Saga and Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools

Copyright © 2015 by Michael R. Evans
ISBN 9789491030710

The 1st Worldwide Edition is available online from Barnes and Noble.

The 1st Worldwide Edition  is available online from Books A Million too.

The 1st Worldwide Edition is also available online from Amazon.


Other Sources: The Great Salt Lake Mime Saga and Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools front_cover002small by Michael R. Evans. First Edition published February 14, 2015 by American Book Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands
In Europe — Order Online from ABC
ISBN 978-94-91030-71-01

In the U.S. and America — Order Online from Y Mountain Press
First US Edition officially published March 17, 2015 by “Y Mountain” Press — BYU Book Store, University Hill, Provo, Utah 84602
ISBN 9781611660937

Copyright © 2015 by Michael R. Evans
Festival of Fools Logos by Gielijn Escher — Images from my own collection, with infinite gratitude to Theatrical Institut Nederlands, Sherif El Safourny, Cor Schlösser, and Fons Strijdonk, Marion Onnekink, Ed Baker, Alan Purves and Davey Norket. All Rights Reserved © Michael R. Evans