Rus­sell Dyk­stra


From the mo­ment he stepped onto a stage for the first time, play­ing a rat no less, a young Rus­sell Dyk­stra knew per­form­ing was his call­ing.

It was a knock on the door from his am­a­teur theatre en­thu­si­ast neigh­bour that led the 10-year-old into his first role in a lo­cal pro­duc­tion of Toad Of Toad Hall.

All these years later, with count­less roles un­der his belt — in­clud­ing as love­able Bar­ney Meagher in his se­ries Rake — he can’t imagine hav­ing done any­thing else with his life.

As the lat­est sea­son of Rake comes to an end, Dyk­stra re­flects on the an­tics of his on­screen mate Cleaver Greene and talks about his af­fec­tion for the col­league who plays him, Richard Roxburgh.

How did you and Richard first meet? We did a play to­gether called Ray’s Tem­pest about 10 or so years ago, for which he was the direc­tor. My first im­pres­sion of him was of a very open man who was quite re­spect­ful of the craft, and ob­vi­ously a huge tal­ent. He’s very per­son­able too. I have a great deal of ad­mi­ra­tion for him. We worked to­gether again in Ro­mu­lus, My Father and of course now in Rake.

Are you two mates out­side of work? We are. It’s nothing as crazy as the an­tics be­tween Cleaver and Bar­ney though, thank­fully. You’d hope not — I can’t do that. Can you imagine if that was your re­al­ity in life — hav­ing a friend like Cleaver Greene? I don’t know if I’d have the pa­tience.

How does Bar­ney have the pa­tience to put up with him? I think it’s their old friend­ship, the his­tory. Some­times you look at old friend­ships and you’re a lot more tol­er­ant of peo­ple who’ve been in your life for a long time and think, I’d walk away if we had just met. But you’re in­vested.

Their friend­ship has cer­tainly been tested over the years. I mean, Cleaver slept with Bar­ney’s wife! In­deed. And es­pe­cially in this sea­son, the friend­ship is tested like never be­fore. You feel it in ev­ery sea­son — you won­der how it could pos­si­bly go on. But you know there’s an in­cred­i­ble friend­ship un­der­pin­ning things too. For all his faults and flaws, Cleaver is in­cred­i­bly charm­ing and those two have a lot of fun to­gether.

Speak­ing of fun, it looked like the Rake party was over for a while, but it came back. Can we ex­pect an­other chap­ter? It’s the na­ture of the beast nowa­days, that it’s hard to gauge what’s go­ing to con­tinue and what’s not. I’m not sure what’ll hap­pen next but it’s such a great qual­ity show. I per­son­ally love the show as a viewer just as much as I love work­ing on it.


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