A Wonka-themed chocolate “experience” in Glasgow has been branded as “awful” by furious parents and forced to shut just hours after opening.

Dubbed as ‘Willy’s Chocolate Experience’, the event advertised “a celebration of sweetness and imagination”, inspired by the hit movie Wonka and the Roald Dahl book that inspired it.

Tickets cost £35 and promised audio and visual effects, dancing Oompa-Loompas and chocolate fountains, but delivered little more than a barely-decorated warehouse with a smattering of plastic candy canes and a small bouncy castle.

Outraged parents began demanding a refund shortly after it opened, describing it as a “farce” run by “cowboys”. The event’s organisers, House of Illuminati, decided to pull the plug just hours into its opening day.

Police Scotland also sent officers to the scene after receiving a number of official complaints.

House of Illuminati issued an apology and guaranteed to refund all customers within 10 days. They described its opening as a “very stressful and frustrating day”, adding: “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.”

Wonka is based on the universe created in Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryTimothée Chalamet plays the lead role of Willy Wonka, in what’s billed as a prequel to the 1971 film adaptation.

The film recently crossed the $600million (£475m) threshold at the worldwide box office, placing it comfortably inside the top ten cinema hits of 2023, and surpassing both of director Paul King’s previous two films, Paddington and Paddington 2.


In a four-star review, NME wrote: “A scene-stealing Grant provides the comic highlights as Lofty, a supercilious Oompa Loompa with a grudge against Chalamet’s title character, while the film’s emotional beats come from Willy’s flowering friendship with book-loving orphan Noodle (Calah Lane). Wonka isn’t quite an immaculate confection, but it’s moreish enough to become a future festive favourite. You’ll want to tuck right in.”

Hugh Grant plays an Oompa-Loompa called Lofty in the film, requiring motion-capture technology to render the character’s appearance. “It was like a crown of thorns,” said Grant at a press conference, describing how he needed to have multiple cameras pointed at his face at all times.

“I made a big fuss about it, I couldn’t have hated the whole thing more.”

Grant also referenced the character during his presentation of the Best Director category at the BAFTAs.

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