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Around the Square Review

Official Review

March 31st, 2010 11:47pm
Reviewed by Bryce Kuhlman
Those of you who like creating stories around simple effects are going to love this. If Bob Neale doesn't already know about it, I'll be sending one to him immediately.

Before I get started, I want to put out a request to anyone reading this. There's something in the back of my memory banks that tells me I've seen this somewhere before... in an old book or magazine article. If anyone can confirm this, please let me know and I'll make a note of it in this review.

[EDIT: Gordon has solved this for me. He says, "I think you mean Squircle. It sold for $1.25 in 1951. Adjusted for inflation, that's still only $11 in current dollars. :("]

The effect is simple. It's similar to Dan Harlan's wonderful Starcle routine (though you're not supplied with any heartwarming stories here). You display a sheet of newspaper. It's folded into quarters and a corner cut out, leaving what should be a square hole in the center. But when the newspaper is opened, a circular hole is seen. As a bonus, the cut-out square piece is shown to be round, as well.

That's really it. The author does provide a suggested mentalism framework, but it doesn't change the basic effect.

All that's needed are access to some newspapers, glue, scissors and about 5 minutes of prep time.

The instructions are pretty clear, but could be better. Here's where a video could have really come in handy. Some of the wording was a bit misleading. The author refers to the "long" and "short" folded edges. The problem is that the relative length of these edges is highly dependent on the overall page size. For instance, with my local paper, what the author refers to as the "long" side was actually shorter. It took a few moments of staring at the photos and reading ahead to get it right.

Some of the folds and cuts need to be relatively precise. The author includes a sheet of templates that can be cut out. But even the templates appear to be hand-drawn. In this day and age, wouldn't it have been better (and easier) to just draft something on the computer?

There's also a prepared paper included. That really helped when trying to figure out the arts and crafts portion for the first time.

But even with these minor drawbacks, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get this working after one or two tries. Once prepared, the effect is basically self-working. I think the hard part will be coming up with a good presentational framework.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Around the Square

Author: Devin Knight
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $20.00
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Manufacturer's Description:


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A new and novel paper effect! Do not confuse this with the old Squircle effect. Although similar, this is a greatly improved version. A double sheet of newspaper is shown on both sides. It is folded into quarters and a small 2" square is cut from a folded corner. (In the original Squircle, a double sheet of newspaper is folded in half and a semicircle is cut out.) The 2" square is unfolded showing it is actually a 4" inch square.

The double sheet of newspaper is partly unfolded. Instead of the expected rectangular shape, the audience sees a semicircle! (You cannot do this with the old Squircle.) The newspaper is completely unfolded revealing a cutout circle in the middle!

For an additional kicker, the small cutout square is waved in the air. The corners VISIBLY turn round. This small piece is fully opened and seen to be a circle. This cutout circle perfectly matches the circular hole in the newspaper. Even the print on the cutout circle matches the rest of newspaper proving this was cut from that newspaper!

Bonus Mental Effect:

The performer has a participant select a card from an ESP deck. The participant retains the card, but he does not look at the symbol on it. The performer shows a sheet of newspaper and claims he will cut out a design that will match the symbol on the unknown card. The performer cuts out a square. The participant shows his selected ESP card; it is a circle. It appears the performer has failed.

The performer says, "That is exactly what I predicted, a circle." Before the participant can protest, the performer opens up the sheet of newspaper revealing a cutout circle. The performer's prediction is correct!

Suitable for both stage and close-up performances. Comes with sample newspaper, script with comedy patter, detailed photographed directions showing how to gimmick more newspapers and templates.

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