Willy Wonka actor breaks silence on disastrous Willy’s Chocolate Experience | EUROtoday

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A humorist employed to play Willy Wonka at a broadly criticised chocolate manufacturing unit expertise has spoken out after livid mother and father demanded refunds.

Willy’s Chocolate Experience organiser Billy Coull apologised for his “vision of the artistic rendition of a well-known book that didn’t come to fruition” and supplied 850 folks their a refund earlier than closing the Glasgow expertise on Saturday.

Paul Connell mentioned he was given 15 pages of ‘AI-generated gibberish’


One mum or dad complained of arriving to discover a “disorganised mini-maze of randomly placed oversized props, a lacklustre candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child, and a terrifying chrome-masked character that scared many of the kids to tears”.

‘There was supposed to be a chocolate fountain somewhere but I never saw it’

(Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

Did you attend the occasion? If so e-mail barney.davis.ind@impartial.co.uk

The Wonka-esque impersonator Paul Connell, 31, spoke to The Independent about how he acquired the gig and the way the chaos unfolded.

“I’m constantly applying for more acting jobs and comedy work, then I got a phone call on Thursday saying, ‘Congratulations you are going to play Willy Wonka, we will send you over the script and dress rehearsal is tomorrow’,” Mr Connell mentioned. “The script was 15 pages of AI-generated gibberish of me just monologuing these mad things.

“The bit that got me was where I had to say, ‘There is a man we don’t know his name. We know him as the Unknown. This Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.’

“It was terrifying for the kids. Is he an evil man who makes chocolate or is the chocolate itself evil?

“They even misspelt my contract but I do have a legally binding ‘Coontract’ [sic]. But I stayed up all night learning it, thinking this would make sense in the dress rehearsal when I see all the tech.”

Parents weren’t pleased with the Wonka Experience

(Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

But on the Friday night gown rehearsal hours earlier than opening, he turned as much as discover the “immersive and enchanting” Willy Wonka expertise was, in truth, an empty warehouse with just a few plastic mushrooms.

“In some ways, it was a world of imagination, like imagine that there is a whole chocolate factory here,” he mentioned. “I spoke to the people running it and thought, surely by the morning it won’t look like this, and then I turned up in the morning and it absolutely did.

“At the end of my monologue, I was supposed to suck 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’.

“So I started to cut things out, thinking that would be silly.

“All the actors were lovely people. We gathered together in the morning and said, ‘We’re probably not going to get paid for this but kids are still going to come up. Let’s make this as magic as possible for them’.

Children were given a quarter cup of lemonade, the actor said


“I was making jokes but we were told to give them one jelly bean and a quarter cup of lemonade,” he continued. “No chocolate at the chocolate experience. There was supposed to be a chocolate fountain somewhere but I never saw it.

“I was told I would get a 15-minute break every 45 minutes after each group went through.

“But I ended up playing Willy Wonka for three and a half hours straight. I didn’t know where I ended and Wonka began. I was losing my mind by that point.

“The organiser came up to me, saying, ‘You’re spending too much time with the kids, we need to get them through as quickly as possible’.

“By this point, I was visibly angry. I was like, now there’s going to be a lot of disappointed kids.”

The actor mentioned he lastly managed to get a lunch break, deciding to spend it sitting in his automotive staring on the flooring making an attempt to keep away from the sight of crying youngsters being turned away by safety.

“When I came back, that’s when everything kicked off,” he defined. “There was an angry mob at the door not being let in. I had to wedge my way through.

“I was Wonka and it’s my face everywhere. But I am just a last-minute actor, really, I didn’t organise anything.

“People were shouting, people who put on the event were crying. There were arguments, people running around everywhere – the set had been trashed.”

An AI poster was printed out and caught to a wall

(Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

He referred to as one other huddle of the 2 different Willy Wonkas and the closest Oompa Loompas, including: “We decided to just walk away.

“It was actually getting quite dangerous for us. But it was heartbreaking, to be honest.

“There were kids in costume better than ours, crying. I used to be a teacher and that was triggering for me.

“One thing I want to make clear is everyone has been so nice to the actors in person and on the day, the people who were there understand we did our best.

“We didn’t take any abuse but we gave abuse to the people running it. The whole thing was disrespectful to the families and us as promising actors.

“There were three Willy Wonkas but I was the most unlucky because I went first and stayed for three and a half hours doing it through either commitment or stupidity.”

Planning a stand-up tour quickly, the actor, initially from Hull, mentioned he had moved to Glasgow to comply with his dream of turning into a humorist after googling what’s the funniest metropolis within the UK.

He completed: “It’s a night I’ll try to forget. Sadly, not only will I remember it, everyone I know will remember it too.

“We as actors were brought in last minute and we just did our best for the kids.”

Gene Wilder’s Wonka within the iconic unique film

(Warner Bros)

Stuart Sinclair, who travelled two hours to attend the expertise along with his household, informed The Independent: “It was nothing short of shocking.

“But all the cast that were there did their absolute best. Unfortunately, they were all sub-contractor actors hired by Illuminati and haven’t been paid either.

“They were in as much shock as us. But it was probably worse for them because this is their job and made them look bad when it wasn’t their fault.”

Organiser Billy Coull, the director of immersive occasions firm House of Illuminati, informed STV News: “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.”