Knives Out star to play Scots Oompa Loompa in musical of notorious Glasgow Willy Wonka experience

Knives Out star Riki Lindhome is to play a Scottish Oompa Loompa in a new Broadway musical based on the notorious Glasgow Willy Wonka experience.

Lindhome, who starred opposite Daniel Craig in the 2019 whodunnit, will take the lead as “meth lab Oompa Loompa” Kirsty Paterson in a stage production based on the disastrous kids event that became a global phenomenon.

The Hollywood actress has written some of her own songs for the musical, which will open in New York next year. And Lindhome met up with Scots jobbing actress Paterson in Los Angeles at the weekend as part of her research for the role.

Paterson, who was in LA for a US version of the Glasgow event organised by locals, said: “I met the actress Riki Lindhome who is a really big actress out here in Los Angeles.

“So much so that I was a bit starstruck when I saw her. She is so lovely. She’s involved in a theatre performance of the Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience.

“She is going to play me. I am so excited about that.”

Paterson was completely unknown before she became a global meme due to her miserable expression while playing an Oompa Loompa at the Glasgow event.

Disgruntled parents shared photos of her looking depressed, making her an overnight star.

Lindhome is known for roles in The Big Bang Theory TV series and in Tim Burton’s Addams Family spin-off Wednesday, in which the American actress played the twisted psychiatrist, Dr Valerie Kinbott.

Paterson told of her excitement at being played by such a big star, saying: “It’s largely under wraps but the producer of the theatre show is a really big name out here and has told me it is going to be out within a year.

“Riki sang one of the songs that will be in the musical for me. She also let me hear the music she has written for the play.”

Police were called by angry parents to the original Glasgow Willy Wonka Experience, which had been organised by businessman Billy Coull in February. He later promised refunds over the failure to entertain children, some of whom were in tears.

The event was so bad it spawned viral videos and led to a Channel 5 TV documentary.

In LA, Paterson and Lindhome and posed for photos backstage at a warehouse venue, where the event took place on Sunday night.

It was attended by about 200 adults who each forked out $44 US dollars (about £35) to soak up the crushing disappointment for themselves.

The event has nothing to do with Coull’s House of Illuminati events company.

Paterson said: “They wanted it to be exclusive, like an undiscovered rave, which I found really weird. They wanted to keep things underground and the organisers didn’t want to be named.”

The secretive US organisers have shunned publicity after several missteps.

They originally promised US fans a true recreation of the original flop and claimed that comedians Nathan Fielder and Zach Galifianakis were in the frame to co-host.

They were forced to back down over their “ironic” claims, blaming AI, after legal representatives contacted them to make it clear in no uncertain terms that the stars would not be appearing.

Among the photo opportunities at the LA event was a giant poster-sized lawyer’s letter telling organisers to
cease and desist over their use of Nathan Fielder’s name, image and likeness in connection with “Willy’s Chocolate Experience”.

Paterson said: “It was surreal and crazy, especially the fact that people knew who I was and wanted me to pose with them for pictures.

“I was performing with lots of other acts and I took part in a Q&A. DJs were playing as well. The audience seemed to have a positive experience though it was just as bad as the Glasgow event.

“Corners of the room looked just as awful but the balloons were good and for me it was a better experience overall.

“The Glasgow experience was a really negative time for me and ended up with police cars outside but here in Los Angeles people danced and smiled.

“Everyone got a couple of jelly beans when they came in.”

Paterson is staying at LA’s 174-room Hoxton hotel, which is situated 30 minutes from LAX airport. It boasts a rooftop pool with an iconic view of the Hollywood sign that dominates the hills beyond.

She will meet Hollywood movie moguls and agents before heading to New York for a personal appearance at the former Studio 54 nightclub, now called 54 54 54.

She has also launched her own clothing range featuring her image as an Oompa Loompa and the slogan “Just one Jelly bean”.

She said: “I’m trying to get myself out there in some sort of way. I’m trying my best,” she said.

“I’m meeting agents in Hollywood and I’ll be networking as much as I can because I will only get this opportunity once. I’m an actress so this is another great opportunity for me.”

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