Man who played Wonka in Glasgow Willy Wonka ‘experience’ speaks out about the chaos

He was told to give each kid one single jelly bean

The Glasgow Willy Wonka experience nightmare is the 2024 version of Fyre Festival. The event was sold, for £35 a ticket, as a “celebration of chocolate in all its forms” and promised to be a land of magical candy and huge mushrooms. But kids were left screaming and crying, police were called and the event was cancelled halfway through after the whole thing turned into carnage.

But now one of the actors who played Willy Wonka at the event has spoken out and told his side of the story and, spoiler alert, it’s actually more chaotic than we ever even thought.

Paul Connell spoke about his experience on TikTok and shared how he was given a script of “AI-generated gibberish” the day before the event and was told to give each child one jelly bean and a quarter cup full of Tesco’s own brand lemonade. He said the group of actors involved were “also scammed by this event.”

He described the event which fully traumatised the poor kids “was an absolute mess and the fact that I was a part of it is one of the most embarrassing things that’s ever happened to me.” Yikes.

Willy Wonka experience Glasgow

Speaking on TikTok, he said: “My name is Paul Connell and I was one of the actors employed to play Willy Wonka at the Wonka’s Chocolate Experience fiasco that happened in Glasgow this weekend. I am gonna tell my side of it as an actor who was employed at this event.”

He added: “I feel for anyone who bought tickets for this event, people who were expecting a magical chocolate experience and got me in a top hat in a dirty warehouse in Glasgow.”

Paul said that he was cast in part on Thursday and told he needed to learn the script by Friday. The first red flag though was that he was cast as Willy Wonka in the first place.”Anyone who looks at me and thinks I give off Willy Wonka and not Oompa Loompa is out of their mind,” he said.

Talking about the script he was given, he said it was a “15-page monologue pretty much of AI-generated gibberish.” He went on to recite some of the script with lines including: “There is a man who lives here, his name is not known, so we call him the unknown. The unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.” Much like the children involved, I am weeping at the unknown.

There was also a moment in the script where Paul was supposed to “suck up the unknown with a giant vacuum cleaner and I asked about that and the people running the event said we don’t know what to do with that so just improvise.”

“We were told on the experience to hand out a jelly bean, one jelly bean per child and a quarter of a cup of Tesco’s own brand lemonade. That was what the children got. No chocolate! No chocolate to be had at this chocolate factory.”

The actors arrived on the Saturday morning and saw the shambles of the event held at what he called a “dirty old warehouse” which was a “health and safety nightmare”.

“We all got together as actors and we were like look it is unlikely that we’re gonna get paid for this event, however, they’re gonna put this event on with or without us and children are gone be coming through. Let’s just stick around and do our best to make sure the children have some kind of experience. ”

Willy Wonka experience Glasgow


So they “did the best with what we had which was very little.” But when he came back from his lunch break, “things had got a little bit out of control” and he was actually told to hide.

“Rightfully so, people were furious they were shouting, there were people filming things on their phone, there were things being broken, things being stolen,” he recalled.

“It was an absolute mess and the fact that I was a part of it is one of the most embarrassing things that’s ever happened to me,” he finished.

Willy Wonka experience Glasgow


The events company behind the event, House of Illuminati, apologised for the “stressful and frustrating day” and said it would refund attendees. “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. We planned a fabulous event and it just did not take shape as planned and for that we are truly sorry we are devastated at how this has turned out.”

Director of the company Billy Coull said: “I’m really shocked that 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 and utterly sorry.”

The Tab has contacted House of Illuminati for further comment. 

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