Glasgow Willy Wonka ‘Chocolate Experience’ to be recreated – in LA

<span>The Glasgow event achieved such internet infamy it even inspired an hour-long TV documentary.</span><span>Photograph: Mentorn TV</span>
The Glasgow event achieved such internet infamy it even inspired an hour-long TV documentary.Photograph: Mentorn TV

The infamous Willy’s Chocolate Experience staged in Glasgow, which prompted angry parents to call police, inspired dozens of memes on the internet and even got a mention in the House of Commons, is to be recreated in Los Angeles.

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Billed as a “celebration of chocolate in all its delightful forms” when it opened at a warehouse in Glasgow in February, it instead made headlines after furious families demanded their money back and the event was abruptly cancelled midway through.

The event organisers, House of Illuminati, who charged up to £35 for tickets, had promised an “immersive experience” based on the Warner Bros film Wonka, with giant mushrooms, candy canes and chocolate fountains, along with special audio and visual effects – and, of course, dancing Oompa-Loompas, the diminutive stars of the Roald Dahl book on which the film was based.

But families who attended the premises in Whiteinch, an industrial area of Glasgow, found a sparsely decorated warehouse with a scattering of plastic props, a small bouncy castle and some backdrops pinned against the walls.

Kirsty Paterson, 29, an actor and yoga teacher, became a viral hit after pictures emerged of her as a sad Oompa Loompa at the experience. But now she is set to be the star of the California event, with the comedian Zach Galifianakis also reportedly linked to the Willy’s Chocolate Experience LA event on the Eventbrite website.

Related: Glasgow’s disastrous Wonka character inspires horror film

The event is described as “tongue-in-cheek”. Attenders are invited to “step into a world of pure imagination at Willy’s Chocolate Experience Los Angeles as chocolate memes come to life” at a “nondescript” warehouse in California, where two free Jelly Beans will be given per $44 (£35) ticket on 28 April.

Paterson is billed as a “notorious Scottish Oompa Loompa” and will take part in a Q&A session. Describing the opportunity as a “modern-day fairytale”, she told the Daily Record the American version of the event had adopted the name, but this was done as a joke.

“I didn’t really expect to end up in the USA or to go as big as this because the USA is on a different level,” Paterson said. “I’ve not been to America before. As a trained actor it’s really exciting for me to go over there.”

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Guests will be welcomed to “a plethora of enchanting attractions” in downtown LA, including DJ sets and film screenings, as well as getting to meet Paterson, who is described as having a “heart of gold”. Galifianakis is tipped on the Eventbrite listing to host the Q&A session with fellow comic Nathan Fielder.

Organisers called a halt to the Glasgow event only hours after its opening in February. One actor hired was reportedly told to improvise and “to hand the kids a couple of jelly beans and a quarter-cup of lemonade at the end”.

In a statement at the time, House of Illuminati apologised to customers for the “very stressful and frustrating day”.

“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,” it said, confirming full refunds would be given to customers.