By Douglas Whitbread

The lead actor in a ‘shambolic’ Willy Wonka-inspired ‘experience’ has lifted the lid on the disastrous event – which brought kids to tears and left parents furious.

Paul Connell, who played the part of ‘Wonka’, branded the £35 a head showcase an “absolute mess” after police were forced to break up angry crowds of visitors.

The event was staged at a site in Glasgow, where guests had been promised a “journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises”.

But when families arrived on Saturday morning (Feb 24), they were left fuming by the lacklustre set design at a “dirty” near-empty warehouse.

Paul said ‘red flags’ began to emerge about the “immersive experience” when he found out he had been cast as Wonka – and not an Oompa Loompa.

And he revealed he was given just hours to learn a 15-page script – made of up “AI generated gibberish” – before people started arriving.

Paul was later forced to “hide” as visitors vented their anger at the organisers, House of Illuminati, who cancelled the event within hours of its opening.

And despite the best efforts of actors, who still have not been paid for their services, he said it was one of the “most embarrassing things” he had ever witnessed.

Paul said: “I really hope that everyone gets their refunds that they deserve.

“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.”

“I feel for anyone who bought tickets to this event – people who were expecting a magical chocolate experience and got me in a top hat in a dirty warehouse in Glasgow. People who wanted Timothe Chalamet and got Timothee Charlatan.”

Paul Connell, who played the part of ‘Wonka’. (Pix via SWNS)

Paul, who revealed his experiences in a video posted to TikTok, said he was initially concerned by the part he had been cast in by organisers.

He said: “The first red flag for me was when I was cast as Willy Wonka. Anyone who looks at me and thinks Willy Wonka and not Oompa Loompa is out of their mind.

“I give off major Oompa Loompa energy. But not like a good Oompa Loompa – like one that is at the back during the dance numbers, like falling over like your aunt at a line dancing class on holiday.”

Paul said he only found out about his part on Thursday and was then handed a 15-page script to learn for the following day.

And while he had dutifully memorized it, he said it had barely made any sense.

Paul said: “The script was a 15-page monologue, pretty much of AI-generated gibberish.

“One of my favourite lines was: ‘There’s 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.’

“What is an evil chocolate maker for a start? Does he make evil chocolate or is he an evil man who makes chocolate? And what do you mean he lives in the walls?

“I had to perform that line with gusto and validity – and that was a challenge as an actor.”

Inside the Willy Wonka-inspired ‘experience’. (Pix via SWNS)
The Willy Wonka-inspired event that police were called to in Glasgow. (Pix via SWNS)

Paul was shocked when he arrived at the venue on Saturday to see the sparsely decorated warehouse, which he called a “health and safety nightmare”.

And he was told to give kids attending the event a single jelly bean each and a quarter of a glass of lemonade when they arrived.

He said the actors, who accepted at the start of the day they were unlikely to get paid, had decided to keep going in the interests of the children who visited.

But shortly after taking his lunch break, he returned to find chaos had broken out as furious parents demanded refunds.

Paul said: “When I came back in, that’s when things had got a little bit out of control.

“Rightfully so, people were furious, they were shouting. There were people filming things on their phones, there were things being broken.

“I just walked into this after my lunch and was told to hide… I was like, ‘What has happened?’”

(Pix via SWNS)
Jenny Fogarty in her costume. (Pix via SWNS)

Police Scotland confirmed that officers were called to the venue as angry crowds started to gather outside.

And the House of Illuminati was later forced to issue more than 800 refunds to disgruntled visitors.

Writing on their social media page yesterday (Wed), the group said they would not be holding any event in the foreseeable future.

They said: “I am truly sorry for any upset and disappointment caused at the weekend. Refunds have been issued and will continue to do so.

“This was an event gone wrong, The House of Illuminati will NOT be holding any other events in the foreseeable future.”

House of Illuminati has been contacted for further comment.

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