Chekhov, Gogol and Dostoevsky

Greg Ulfan, Joseph Sherman,  Ernie Gruner & Phillip Carroll in 'Russian Soup'

fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Melways 1 F Q11

September 20th - October 2nd (except Mondays & October 1st)

TIME 8:30pm (75min), Sundays 7:00pm
TICKETS Full: $25.00
Concession: $18.00
Tightarse Tuesday: $15.00
Group: $15.00 / 10 people
Other: Student Rush 15 $10.00

For bookings please telephone Melbourne Fringe’s Festival Tix on 03 8412 8777

or Online Tickets via

fringe festivalGhostly dark comedy, brilliantly observed frailties and the close proximity of love and violence grating; this is the world of Russian Soup.  It isn't possible to have a laugh without a last gasp or to trust that hypocrisy won't flower in the most upright citizen. And it isn't even sure that it will all end. 

From Russian short stories
  by Chekhov, Gogol and Dostoevsky
Directed: John Bolton
Performed: Greg Ulfan & Joseph Sherman
Music: Ernie Gruner & Phillip Carroll


Greg Ulfan & Joseph Sherman

“Greg Ulfan and Joseph Sherman revealed a world where love, violence, piety, extravagance, pain, laughter and joy consumed their various protagonists with shattering verisimilitude.” 
Malcolm Robertson  

“Only just over an hour, these brilliant distillations explore the nuances of Russian drama and humour - catch it if you can.”  
Mary Lou Jelbart on the John Faine show 

“The timing, the acting, the stage use and the music, especially the music! made it such a great experience.”
Bronia Kornhauser, Jewish Music Archives Monash University 

“A delicious entrée to further reading of the short stories of three giants of Russian literature… pregnant with humanity…..engaging and affectionate production…(with) irony, satire and comedy”.
Canberra Times

fortyfivedownstairs : 9662 9966


Joseph Sherman

Since training at The John Bolton Theatre school and the VCA he has concentrated on creating new work. Most recently this has included “Sugar”, a clown piece performed at La Mama 2002, “Russian Soup” (Inotrope Productions)-first performed in 2002 and a solo piece “Champagne” based on a Chekhov short story at 45Downstairs in 2004.

Greg Ulfan

Graduated from V.C.A. in 1994 and has since performed with S.T.C., M.T.C., Playbox, S.T.S.A. and many others. He’s worked with N.Y.I.D. for over nine years. His T.V. appearances include “Sea Change” “Stingers” “Blue Heelers” & “Neighbours” etc. He has begun directing and teaching acting at the turn of this century, and founded Shmutzky in 2004. His most recent work was co-directing and acting in “The Room” by R.Cortese.

John Bolton

Has spent the last three decades theatre making, directing and teaching.

Trained at Guildhall school of music and drama London 69-71 and  Ecole Jacques Lecoq Paris, 77-79.

Currently Head of Acting at VCA School of Drama.

Most recently directed I don’t wanna play house with Tammy Anderson and Hamlet for Short attention Span.  Over the last 20 years he has continued to perform his celebrated solo show Jumping Mouse as well as the more recent  Shadows and light and The God Show.

Phil Carroll
Phil has been involved in World Music for many years with a specific interest in middle-eastern music. He  studied oriental music in Turkey, Egypt and Morrocco, specifically the ney (the mid-east flute) , the quartertone accordion and the  zurna (mid-east oboe).  He leads the 6-piece middle-eastern music and dance ensemble Yalla! , having produced a CD and  played extensively at festivals  around Australia.

     He also plays in Klezmeritis  and Bohemian (ex- Gypsy) Nights, who have toured  Australia and overseas and produced CD’s as well as with French (Brica Brac, school shows), Latin (Zingaro),Italian (school shows, La Voce Della Luna), Russian (Ame Roma), jazz, gypsy and continental groups. He has composed music for films, documentaries, music ensembles and dancers.

Ernie Gruner

is a violinist and half of the Russian Soup musicians, BOHEMIAN NIGHTS with accordionist Phil Carroll. The duo recently toured New Zealand for the 3rd time, has recorded a debut CD to be launched October 22nd at the Boite, and plays klezmer, gypsy, russian, tango, middle-eastern, italian, french, jazz and more. They are also part of larger bands KLEZMERITIS, YALLA! and FLIRTING MAZURKAS.
Ernie specialises in klezmer and studied in New York, Budapest, Cracow and San Fransisco. He leads KLEZMERITIS which plays East European klezmer, and in concerts and CDs fuses it with jazz and middle-eastern sounds, and teaches klezmer.

He is also a member of Melbourne PLAYBACK Theatre Company as an improvising musician, and JUGULARITY comedy jazz cabaret band  which for 17 years plays festivals regularly, has a 4th CD on the way.
For more on Ernie's music and a gig guide and discography, see




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