Draven Reviews: Breakthrough by Mengel Brothers

approved Title: Breakthrough
Artist: The Mengel Brothers
Producers: The Mengel Brothers
Link: http://www.mengelbrothers.com/breakthrough.html
Retail Price: $29.95
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 2 hours 8 minutes
Notes:  n/a

 
Features:
•    Play All
•    Introduction
•    Story
•    Performances
•    Explanation
•    Extras

A coin is placed on the bottom of an empty soda can, you give the can a simple shake and the coin instantly appears inside the can as if it just fell through a solid surface!

Impromptu Coin in Can has been done before, and most recently by Wayne Houchin with his effect “Sinful” made famous by Criss Angel on his television series Mind Freak.  Honestly I considered Wayne’s method to be the industry standard for performing this kind of illusion.    That was until I saw the trailer for Breakthrough by the Mengel Brothers.  The trailer blew my mind.  It was strait forward, it was powerful, and it looked amazing.  Here’s a coin, here’s a soda can, here’s a coin in a soda can.  Any questions?  I signed myself up for a copy without hesitation.

So who are the Mengel Brothers?  The short story is that they are two brothers from Estonia.  But there is a much longer story to be told, and the exciting thing is their adventure is just starting. Their names aren’t well known in the magic community yet.  I say yet because they share a spot among a few up-and-coming stars of the future magic stage.  They came out of nowhere a couple years ago appearing in online magic forums saying they had a dream to create magic, and inspire others.  Then they made good on their dreams by producing a quality product.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t see more from these two in the near future.  They are dreamers, they are visionaries, and I expect to see great things from them.

The DVD is more than just a magic trick and its explanation.  It’s a documentation of the dedication to the dream these two brothers shared in creating magical content that would be distributed and received by the community.  I found their story and their magic both to be inspiring. So let’s get down to the brass tacks here and discuss what the Breakthrough is for Coin in Can magic plots.

The set up for the trick is pretty damn cleaver and you have different ways you can get into it.  I love versatility.  Yes you can borrow a coin from a spectator and yes the can itself can be borrowed too.  Unlike Houchin’s method in Sinful the can you use in Breakthrough will be empty before you even start.  I actually prefer this method more since it makes much less of a mess.  Getting into performance position requires a little bit of magical maneuvering and minor sleight of hand, but nothing anyone couldn’t figure out how to do within a few minutes.  It’s pretty basic stuff.   If you already perform Sinful then you’ll find Breakthrough pretty easy to learn.  The angles in Breakthrough are also on par with if not better than the angles in Sinful.

If the Brothers are at fault for anything in this DVD it’s over explaining things.  They take a lot of time focusing on every single nuance, including teaching the setup sleight that it can bog things down a bit for someone who is more experienced with magic.   Over teaching isn’t a bad thing mind you.  I’d rather have too much material and just fast forward through the parts I already know then not have it and be left wondering what the heck am I suppose to do here?

Learning how to perform Breakthrough though will cause your magic tuned gears inside your brain to come to a grinding halt.  I know it did mine.   The very first reaction you’re going to have is “This is angle sensitive!  I can’t perform this surrounded!”  And you know what?  You’d be wrong.  This is a very creative trick and it can be done surrounded, but you have to be aware of those said surroundings.  Breakthrough is one of those tricks that once the method was learned I sat back and said to myself:  “This will NEVER work in a real life situation.”  Then I went out and tried it.  I was wrong.  I was very wrong.  Breakthrough fries people.

There isn’t a gimmick, but there are times where the coin can “talk” which would ruin the trick.  Breakthrough can be performed using a signed coin or an unsigned coin if you wish.  Clean up is pretty easy too but, depending on the version you use, can run the risk of losing you a coin in the process. The good news is you start clean, end clean, and both soda can and coin can be borrowed.  .

There is a bonus link that you get when you purchase the DVD that takes you to their website for a special follow up video helping address some concerns and feedback they’ve received and even teaching additional cleanup methods that require a little bit of palming.  The bonus video, with a run time of about 17 minutes, has just as much heart and passion as the DVD.  I agree with the brothers on the grounds that the illusion works more on auditory, hearing the can rattle inside, I just can’t stress enough that this is going to be one of those tricks you just need to reserve judgment on until after you’ve done it for a few live spectators first.

Breakthrough is a practical coin in can presentation that requires very little sleight of hand and some creative exploitations of the properties unique to most soda cans. It can be done in walk around situations and is ideal for parties where there are no shortages of empty cans laying around.  The DVD over teaches the effect so there is no single reason why anyone shouldn’t be able to quickly master this routine.   I liked it, and I’ll probably get a lot of use out of it at my strolling gigs or even for use at parties.  Pay attention to the Mengel Brothers, I think they’ve got some creative ideas and I look forward to seeing what they come out with next.

December Update: Two months ago I got Breakthrough in the mail.  My initial response to breakthrough was skeptical.  I’ve put off releasing this review until I’ve tested this trick in front of live audiences myself several times.  After two months of performing Breakthrough I can say that this trick has yielded amazing responses from my audiences. I’m glad I’ve delayed this review in favor of testing this product as thoroughly as I have.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 8
You get more content than you pay for with this DVD.  You will need to be aware of your surroundings while performing this trick.  Audience management will be necessary.  It will require some very basic understanding of sleight of hand.

Teaching Quality: 10
This DVD is way over taught.  It is ideal for a beginner, but the more experienced magician may become bored with the over analysis of every aspect of the trick- not necessarily a bad thing.

Video & Sound Quality: 9
Great sound and video quality.

Overall Quality: 8
The story behind who the Mengel Brothers are, and where they came from was inspiring.  The trick is something that you’ll get some work out of.  Would I recommend this trick to you?  Hell yes!  This is great for anyone in magic, new to experienced, street to stage.  You’ll get some good work out of this Breakthrough.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

Advertisements

About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
This entry was posted in Product Review, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s