ALREADY THE THESP’S THESP, ROXBURGH’S WORK IN RAKE MIGHT WELL BE HIS MOST SHINING LEGACY. NOT TO MENTION A VICIOUS TAKEDOWN OF THE AUSSIE ESTABLISHMENT.
The final episode of season four of the ABC’S wonderful parody of Australian legal and political life, Rake, presents a brilliant moment of art imitating life. Richard Roxburgh’s leading man, Cleaver Greene, the unscrupulous, misanthropic, con-defending, scoundrel-cum-barrister has decided to go into politics (with the foremost intent of irritating his politician sister) and runs for Senate with a campaign aimed at youth called ‘Running for Nothing’. The last scene shows the dishevelled Greene strolling towards camera while adjusting his Ray-bans to shield his familiarly hungover eyes. The camera pans up to reveal Australian Parliament House. Despite his disbelief, he’s made it. At any other time, the scene would have been a stretch too far, implausible, if it wasn’t so close to the scenario that saw a veritable rat-bag of players running in this year’s Federal election, after the series had aired. Had the politicians been watching? “There’s this beautiful moment in time,” smiles Roxburgh in reference to Australian politics, “where you have Pauline Hanson in there, liberal democrats and Christian family people. And, Nick Xenophon is the voice of reason in this mad camp. “Obviously, the reality of what played out was out of our hands, but the parallels and timing were great. I live-tweeted as Cleaver as people went into polling booths. And people were Instagraming pictures of their senate slips with an extra box for Cleaver.” Rake has been praised by critics and audiences since its 2010 debut – rightly applauded for seamlessly tossing between farce, drama and what is fast becoming a commentary on reality. And it succeeds due to the talents of GQ’S Acting Legend Richard Roxburgh, who so cunningly keeps all balls in the air and whose involvement in the series extends to co-creator and producer. After a career in theatre, playing high-profile Aussies in telemovies (he returns next year as Roger Rogerson in the sequel to 1995’s Blue Murder) and scene-stealing roles in blockbusters, it’s plain to see Roxburgh has found as much, if not more, joy in Rake. “It’s completely true, I mean, that job has a lot of joy in it,” he says. “It’s hard work. Each time we’ve done it, it’s gone better. But the price of that is higher, because you think, ‘Oh God, tomorrow I have to come up with ideas and bring more to the table.’ So there’s more weight on your shoulders. But it works. We love it and we love one another as a creative organism. It’s ideal.”
Wool tuxedo jacket (part of a suit), $4200, and cotton dress shirt, $720, both by Giorgio Armani at David Jones; cotton ‘Luca’ bow tie, $165, by La Noeud Papillon; cotton boxer shorts, $65, by Sunspel; glasses, Richard’s own; silk pocket square, $29.50, by Ascot at Henry Bucks. Grooming: Gavin Anesbury.