To experience a circus “entertainment,” therefore, chocked with desultory speechifying and few auspicious expectable circus acts defeats the point. Kids had nothing, really, to celebrate or recall when later they would revisit the evening. Adults -- other than those who are already circus vets or entertainers in the juggler/acrobat/clownish mode, of which there were more than a few in that crowd -- could be excused for being perplexed. The metaphor took, as we used to say in the UK, a hiding when it presented such a wanting mish-mash.Children of all ages were moved to pitching hissy fits.
So it inevitably is with Excessively Earnest People.