Thimblerig fire-eatingBy Tina Chadwick

Thimblerig is the old fancy name for the cup and ball magic trick that’s disguised as a game of skill. It’s also the name of one of the most interesting stage acts in Atlanta.

Started as a comedy show two years ago by Jason Munger, Adam Lowe and Jenifer Doran, Thimblerig has perfected classic sideshow acts such as juggling, fire eating and putting nails where nails shouldn’t go.

The trio portrays the last three surviving members of the famed Moldavia circus in Russia. When on stage, their names change to Zolopht (Jason), Molotov (Adam) and Kizka (Jenifer). They adopt these identities to add to the lore and, admittedly, to hide their vaguely Russian accents.

Asked for the motivation for this less traveled path of performance, Jenifer says, “We were looking for a creative outlet and an excuse to perform.  Also, we have a thing for moustaches and jaunty hats.”

She continues, “We’ve been very lucky to have had an overwhelmingly positive reaction. We love a playful crowd! The crazier they get, the crazier we feel we’re allowed to be.”

A unique trait of Thimblerig is its originality. Not only in the performance itself, but also from show to show.

“We tailor each of our shows to fit the audience, sometimes re-writing parts of the show seconds before we go on stage,” Jenifer says.

Thimblerig jugglingThimblerig has become a favorite at regional renaissance fairs and as openers for theatre, including shows at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates, and music productions.

So, what is the motivation that would make three adults don feathers, fake moustaches and silly hats to perform in front of an audience?

“In a world that often believes big budgets and outrageous effects are the only thing that constitutes real entertainment, we know that entertainment can be a much more personal and intimate experience,” Jenifer says.  “We want to involve those that have come out to see us, to tell stories and show that going to a festival or to local theatre is worth the effort. No explosions and back up dancers necessary.”

To find out more about Thimblerig and its upcoming performances, visit

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.