Furious families demand refunds as ‘laughable’ Willy Wonka experience leaves children in tears

Described as a “full Wonka Experience” tearful kids received only two jelly babies and a quarter of a can of Barrs limeade

Barney Davis
Wednesday 28 February 2024 09:07 GMT
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Children burst into tears as angry parents rounded on the ringleader of a Willy Wonka experience which turned out to be a sparse Glasgow warehouse decorated with a rainbow and a bouncy castle.

Furious parents shelled out £35 for the world of pure imagination promising a “delectable” chocolate fountain and “whimsical” Oompa Loompas who in reality were actors struggling to recite scripts hastily handed to them the night before opening.

Organisers House of Illuminati apologised for the “stressful and frustrating day” and offered 850 refunds before closing the experience to guests on Saturday.

Furious parents shelled out £35 for the world of pure imagination (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)
A rainbow in the world of pure imagination (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

Aileen Butcher, who had taken her daughter, told the Daily Record it was an “absolute disgrace”.

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She said: “We went inside and there were some posters, a visual display including a rainbow, toadstool and a gobstopper.

“There also appeared to be a table strewn with jelly beans and a bouncy castle at the back. It took us a minute to walk through.

“Some families were very, very angry and had little children who were crying.

“It was a tense atmosphere and new families were arriving looking bewildered.”

Gene Wilder in the original surrounded by Oompa Loompas
A poster covers a portion of a blank wall (Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

Stuart Sinclair travelled two hours to attend the experience with his family said on Facebook: “It was nothing short of shocking.

“It was described as a full Wonka Experience with chocolate fountains, but the kids received two jelly babies and a quarter of a can of Barrs limeade.”

Actors complained on social media they were given just one night to learn a script before it was torn up and they were told to improvise around items that weren’t even there.

Mr Sinclair told The Independent: “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.

“All the parents rounded on the guy running it. He was there and everyone was at him trying to get answers. It was that bad it was just laughable.”

(Stuart Sinclair/Facebook)

Police Scotland said officers issued guidance to crowds building up outside the closed venue.

A House of Illuminati spokesperson said: “Today has been a very stressful and frustrating day for many and for that we are truly sorry. Unfortunately, at the 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 and understand people’s anger and frustration that everyone has had, refunds have already started being issued and the rest should be over the coming days, again we are truly sorry to everyone.”

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