HOUSE RULES

SEE CLEAVER GREENE STIR UP THE SE­NATE AS RICHARD ROXBURGH WRAPS UP TV SERIES RAKE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

He may be an Aus­tralian Sen­a­tor, but life is just as chaotic as ever for Cleaver Greene. In an ab­surd but all too be­liev­able de­vel­op­ment, the crim­i­nal bar­ris­ter-turned­politi­cian is nav­i­gat­ing Can­berra’s halls of power in the fifth and fi­nal sea­son of the ABC’s award-win­ning satire Rake.

It’s a bit­ter-sweet time for star Richard Roxburgh, whose charis­matic por­trayal of the lov­able scoundrel has gar­nered crit­i­cal ac­claim and in­spired a short-lived US adap­ta­tion star­ring Greg Kin­n­ear.

“It’s been such a high­light in my creative life, and all of our creative lives, work­ing on Rake,” he says.

“It’s been eight years and there just comes a time when it’s time. We wanted to fin­ish it beau­ti­fully, and I think we’ve done that – beau­ti­ful in a Cleaver Greene sort of way.”

In the fi­nal sea­son, view­ers find Greene in the Se­nate af­ter his tongue-in-cheek cam­paign to “do noth­ing” sur­pris­ingly gets him elected. He ad­mits his sur­name’s sim­i­lar­ity to the Greens also prob­a­bly helped.

“His nat­u­ral rest­ing place is on the slip­pery side of the law, so the nat­u­ral tra­jec­tory re­ally was the Se­nate,” Roxburgh says.

“It’s per­fect for him in so many ways. It was very tricky in a sense it was start­ing from scratch. There’s new char­ac­ters and ob­vi­ously the me­chan­i­cal things like the new pro­to­cols we had to get on top of.”

The ab­sur­dity ramps up in this week’s episode as Cleaver goes viral for an im­pas­sioned speech made while wear­ing a ze­bra cos­tume. You’ll have to tune in to find out why he’s gone sa­fari.

“There’s this ac­ci­den­tal won­der­ment of Cleaver’s world,” Roxburgh says. “Some­times he trips over and does some­thing gen­uinely kind of mar­vel­lous com­pletely by ac­ci­dent and shocks ev­ery­body.

“The whole idea of do­ing noth­ing and say­ing noth­ing is all very well in the­ory, but like all of Cleaver’s the­o­ries it’s never go­ing to work in the end in the real world. It’s go­ing to blow up in his face and burn his eye­brows off. He’s forced by the force of life to un­der­take some­thing, but because it’s Cleaver it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily come from the right place orig­i­nally. It comes from all the wrong places for the wrong rea­sons.”

So will the ac­claimed series wrap up with some mo­ment of re­flec­tion, re­al­i­sa­tion or rec­on­cil­i­a­tion for Cleaver?

“There are these oc­ca­sional mo­ments when it all goes com­pletely to s--- and he’s left stand­ing in the aw­ful light of a re­al­i­sa­tion of some­thing that has hap­pened,” Roxburgh says.

“You sort of get a glimpse into the soul of Cleaver Greene, and that’s al­ways been im­por­tant. There’s maybe a mo­ment or two of that na­ture, but of course it being Cleaver, he pretty quickly moves on.

“He’s such a jack in the box; he’s so constantly on the move with his shoes on fire.” Rake airs Sun­days at 8.30pm on ABC-TV

IT’S GO­ING TO BLOW UP IN HIS FACE AND BURN HIS EYE­BROWS OFF

Richard Roxburgh as Sen­a­tor Cleaver Greene in the fi­nal sea­son of the pop­u­lar ABC-TV series Rake.

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