Actors from 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event 'humiliated' as children in Oompa Loompa costumes burst into tears

27 February 2024, 15:13 | Updated: 27 February 2024, 15:39

Actors from 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event left 'humiliated' as children dressed as Oompa Loompas are reduced to tears
Actors from 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event left 'humiliated' as children dressed as Oompa Loompas are reduced to tears. Picture: Facebook

By Christian Oliver

Actors from a 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event in Glasgow said they have been left 'humiliated' after the immersive experience, advertised as 'a universe where your dreams come true', turned out to be little more than a small bouncy castle and a plastic lollipop.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Parents were left furious after their children - many of whom had put more effort into their Oompa Loompa outfits than any of the staff - were reduced to tears at the "sh**show" 'Willy's Chocolate Experience' at Box Hub on Sunday.

The £35-a-ticket event promised a “chocolate fantasy like never before” and a day where “dreams come to life” - but the reality proved to be more of a desolate nightmare filled with empty trestle tables and staff in budget costumes.

Footage from the disastrous event showed parents looking around bemused at the smattering of lollipops and toadstools in the giant event centre, while staff were seen in peculiar costumes that appeared to have no relation to Roald Dahl's magical world.

Now the hired actors at the experience have spoken out about their distress and humiliation, revealing what they believed was an "AI generated" script.

Actors at Willy's Chocolate Experience' at Box Hub on Sunday
Actors at Willy's Chocolate Experience' at Box Hub on Sunday. Picture: Facebook

Willa Wonka event aftermath seen in Glasgow

Read More: Kids left in tears and police called over 'shambolic' Willy Wonka-inspired event after parents forked out £35 per ticket

Read More: Yemeni dubbed 'Timhouthi Chalamet' who filmed himself on hijacked ships tells new fans to stop obsessing over looks

Cara Lewis, who said she was hired for the event over the weekend, said in a post on Facebook, that actors had one night to learn the script and were then told "abandon it and just improvise" amid the chaos.

"Event we [actors] had been made to believe that this would be an incredible experience, however almost everything mentioned in the script wasn’t even there."

She said it was "definitely AI generated too".

Michael Archibald, who said he was also an actor for the event, took to Facebook to brand the so-called 'immersive experience' as a "last-minute s**tshow" and apologised to distraught parents.

"We had some really lovely people who I am absolutely honored to have spent time in meeting, however with contracts signed in erasable ink and no updates on what's happening, I doubt any of us will receive a penny," he claimed.

Children were left devastated after the let-down event
Children were left devastated after the let-down event. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper
The organiser has said it will issue full refunds
The organiser has said it will issue full refunds. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper

He added: "I am deeply sorry for the fact that things turned out the way they had.

"I spoke to the police officer who was in front of the warehouse later on and gave him as much information from an inside perspective as I could.

"This event has humiliated a group of professionals and people who generally knew what they were doing and really has made them feel horrid for their public reputation.

"Lots of love being sent for everyone involved, the stage staff appeared to all be students hired last minute as well and it would have been horrible on them."

He said his "heart broke" when he saw a "wee oompa loompa kid crying".

It comes after parents at the sweet Roald Dahl-inspired event voiced their furry, describing the experience as a “waste of money”.

Stuart Sinclair, 29, who travelled two hours from Dundee with his three children to the event described it as “an absolute shambles of an event”.

He told the Courier newspaper: “There was a guy wandering around apparently dressed as Willy Wonka but he didn’t seem interested.

You then got inside and there were a couple of props and a plastic chocolate thing.“In the next room, they had test tubes with jelly babies. I said to the kids at least they would get a bag of sweets but they gave them one single sweet each.”

A Wonka Bar is pictured in the event space
A Wonka Bar is pictured in the event space. Picture: Facebook/Elaine Wyper

Another parent wrote on Facebook: “My wee girls 8 she was devastated. Said it was the worst day ever in her life and she had a wee cry as we made our way to the nearest bus stop to travel back into the city centre.”

While another said: “Absolutely shocking. Especially after standing for 30 mins to get in. Chocolate experience with no chocolate in the building.”

The event website, Willy's Chocolate Experience, boasted of an enchanted garden full of "giant sweets, vibrant blooms, mysterious-looking sculptures, and magical surprises".

It also promised live performances and an “immersive adventure” for attendees, including a “twilight tunnel” and “imagination lab” where "the boundaries between reality and fantasy harmoniously merge".

House of Illuminati cancelled the event on its first day and has since promised to issue full refunds to customers. Police Scotland were even called to the event on Saturday, where they said “advice was given”.

The organiser said in a post to Facebook on Saturday night: "Today has been a very stressful and frustrating day for many and for that we are truly sorry."

Unfortunately last minute we were let down in many areas of our event and tried our best to continue on and push through and now realise we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead.

"We fully apologise for what has happened and will be giving full refunds to each and every person that purchased tickets."

The Box Hub said it had only rented out the space and was not responsible for the experience.