What Is the Wonka-Inspired Event Going Viral?

What Is the Wonka-Inspired Event Going Viral?

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 29, 2024

Parents and children eagerly anticipated a promised day of "pure imagination and wonder" at the highly publicized "Willy's Chocolate Experience" event in Glasgow, Scotland.

However, what was supposed to be a delightful immersion into the world of Willy Wonka turned out to be a major letdown, leaving attendees demanding refunds for their £35 ($44) tickets.

How Did the Event Come to Be?

The event, which debuted on February 24, was organized by the House of Illuminati and followed the release of the new film "Wonka," based on Roald Dahl's classic novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Expectations were high, with families looking forward to indulging in chocolate fountains and other whimsical attractions.

The "Enchanted Garden," "Imagination Lab" and the "Twilight Tunnel" were promised by the event's advertisements.

However, upon arrival, guests were met with disappointment and frustration.

Many took to social media to express their discontent, with one attendee labeling the experience to be in "absolute shambles."

Instead of the promised chocolate fountains and immersive displays, guests encountered plastic cups of lemonade on bare folding tables and hastily arranged decorations.

Videos shared on social media captured the dismay of children. One particularly unsettling moment showed a figure named "The Unknown" emerging from behind a mirror, causing distress among young attendees.

Actors Speak Out

Actor and comedian Paul Connell, hired to portray Willy Wonka, described the event as chaotic, revealing that children were given only one jelly bean and a quarter cup of supermarket-brand lemonade.

In a video, he shared, "I feel for anyone that bought tickets to this event and [the] people who are expecting a magical chocolate experience and got me in a topper in a dirty warehouse in Glasgow."

Connell expounded further on his experience, claiming that he received a script that was "15 pages of AI-generated gibberish of me just monologuing these mad things," and ending the monologue by "sucking up" The Unknown man with a vacuum cleaner. 

"I asked them if they had a vacuum cleaner and they said, ‘Yeah, we haven’t really got there yet, so just improvise.’”

Meanwhile, Kirsty Paterson, who played an Oompa Loompa at the event, also shared her disappointment at the unpreparedness of the production.

Despite her efforts to salvage the experience for the children, she found herself rationing jelly beans and facing humiliation as supplies ran out.

"They’d told us to abandon the script. They had this ‘Jellybean Room’ but they eventually ran out of jelly beans. I was already rationing the jelly beans to three per kid, that was me being generous."

Matt Waterfield, operations manager at Box Hub, the venue hosting the event, likewise expressed disappointment at the outcome and emphasized the importance of ensuring refunds for disappointed families who had traveled from far and wide for the event.

House of Illuminati Apologizes

Billy Coull, director of House of Illuminati, issued an apology to attendees, attributing the event's shortcomings to "technical issues." 

"I’m really shocked the event had fallen short of the expectations of people on paper. My vision of the artistic rendition of a well-known book didn’t come to fruition. For that, I am absolutely truly & utterly sorry.”

While the House of Illuminati claims to have issued refunds to some attendees, concerns and outrage linger regarding accountability and the overall disappointment experienced by families. 

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Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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