Aussie stars meet Cleaver
GETTING under the skin of a lawyer as the infuriatingly lovable rogue Cleaver Greene in ABC1’s Rake has already won Richard Roxburgh critical acclaim and a legion of new fans.
It’s just that a few in the legal profession haven’t taken too kindly to having the ‘‘ folly of law’’ and some of its more eccentric characters exposed for TV audiences.
Walking down Phillip St — Sydney’s legal district — has proved a good measure of where people stand on the series, Roxburgh says.
‘‘ To my mind, they fall into one of two camps. There are those who absolutely love the thing because they realise that what we’re finally doing actually is a piece of entertainment, showing the folly of law, but also its complexities, its absurdities, its old habits.’’
And then there are ‘‘ the men in wigs, carrying those navy blue library bags — I really get the stink eye from some of them’’, he chuckles.
Rather than being shamed by the reaction, Roxburgh says being accused of ‘‘ dragging the law into disrepute is terribly gratifying. Just wonderful’’.
The actor’s keen sense of black humour is at the heart of the show’s success.
The acutely observed writing and razor wit made Rake one of the surprise hits of 2011 and a magnet for top actors.
The AFI award-winning Roxburgh says the series, in which he is star, producer and cocreator, has been embraced like no other production he has worked on.
‘‘ There’s an enthusiasm for the show that has been really gratifying, that we’ve tickled so many people’s fancy.’’
Resisting the urge to rush out season two was both a sideeffect of demand for the team behind Rake (including writers Peter Duncan and Andrew Knight) and Roxburgh’s headlining stint in the Sydney Theatre Company’s New York season of Uncle Vanya (costarring Cate Blanchett).
But the wait is worth it, with Cleaver back to his wicked best and a stellar line-up of guest stars including Toni Collette, Garry McDonald, Jacqueline McKenzie and Don Hany.
Just like his corruption of ‘‘ good girl’’ Lisa McCune last season, when the Blue Heelers star played a bed-hopping temptress, the new series opens with Collette and Roxburgh in the back of a limousine. Rake, ABC1, Thursday, 8.30pm
On a winner: Richard Roxburgh plays Cleaver Greene in Rake.