Previews

Richard Roxburgh as Rake is back on ABC-1, premieres 19 May

Richard Roxburgh is Rake

The always good value Rake returns to ABC-1 on Thursday 19 May at 8.30pm, join us as we take a look at what is in store for this fourth season.

Last seen dangling from a balloon drifting across the Sydney skyline, Cleaver Greene (Richard Roxburgh) crashes back to earth – literally and metaphorically, when he’s propelled through a harbourside window into the unwelcoming embrace of chaos past.

Fleeing certain revenge, Cleaver hightails it to a quiet country town, the reluctant member of a congregation led by a stern, decent reverend and his flirtatious daughter. Before long Cleaver’s being chased back to Sin City.

But Sydney has become a dark place: terrorist threats and a loss of faith in authority have seen it take a turn towards the dystopian. When Cleaver finally emerges, he will be accompanied by a Mistress of the Black Arts, navigating a yellow brick road leading straight to our dark corridors of power.

Twisting and weaving the stories of the ensemble of characters we’ve grown to love over three stellar seasons, Season 4 of Rake continues the misadventures of dissolute Cleaver Greene and casts the fool’s gaze on all levels of politics, the legal system, and our wider fears and obsessions.

Cleaver Greene and Richard Roxburgh, the man who plays him

When we last saw Cleaver, Sydney’s most dissolute barrister was being dragged by the foot from a rapidly ascending balloon. In this series Cleaver comes plummeting back to earth and into the cold embrace of his past.

It turns out Cleaver wasn’t born a rake, he was made one. Soon he’s tap dancing through court hearings, hiding out in country towns and discussing screen culture with psychotic bikies to stay alive. Through it all Cleaver can’t help being Cleaver – he’s enthralled by beautiful women, lured by fame and fine wine and happy to rail loudly against social conventions he considers dull or bourgeois. And yet, through it all, what pulls hardest at Cleaver are the strings of family: his feelings for his former wife Wendy and his son Fuzz. Can Cleaver make himself a permanent fixture in their lives or will his nature get the better of him?

Justine Clarke guest-stars in Rake

Justine Clarke guest stars in episode two.

Award-winning actor Richard Roxburgh, who plays Greene with such aplomb and skill, has worked on stage and screen around the world. His screen credits include Moulin Rouge, Doing Time for Patsy Cline, Mission Impossible II, Oscar & Lucinda, Thank God He Met Lizzie, Children of The Revolution, The Turning (Reunion), Matching Jack and James Cameron’s Sanctum.

His brilliant performance as Cleaver earned him a TV Week Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Actor and the 2012 AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Television Series. The series also screens in the US on DIRECTTV. His performance in the role of Prime Minister Bob Hawke in the tele-movie Hawke earned Richard critical acclaim, along with his award-winning electrifying portrayal as the notorious Roger Rogerson in the ABC’s controversial mini-series Blue Murder.

Also for the ABC he collaborated with Somersault director Cate Shortland on the two-part drama series The Silence and East Of Everything where he played the lead role of Art Watkins.

Cleaver Greene left hanging in Rake.

Cleaver Greene left hanging.

Richard is also an accomplished director. His debut film, Romulus, My Father, starring Eric Bana drew critical acclaim when it was released in 2007. Richard most recently appeared on stage in the critically hailed The Present, at the Sydney Theatre Company, an adaptation of Chekhov’s Platonov, continuing his association with Cate Blanchett, with whom he also appeared as the title character in STC’s hugely successful production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, directed by Tamas Ascher. Richard shared the stage with some of Australia’s finest actors including Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Jackie Weaver and John Bell. The play had a revival at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2011, the New York Times describing his performance as “astonishing, Richard Roxburgh, who seems to melt and re-form before your eyes”.

The play was remounted at the Lincoln Centre in New York for Sydney Theatre Company in 2012. Additional stage credits include Waiting for Godot (including a critically acclaimed 2015 tour to the Barbican, London), Toy Symphony, The Seagull, Hamlet (Company B) and for the STC, Closer.

Rake also features Russell Dykstra, Danielle Cormack, Matt Day, Adrienne Pickering, Caroline Brazier, Kate Box, Keegan Joyce and Damien Garvey.

Guest appearances come from Miriam Margolyes, Justine Clarke, Tasma Walton, John Waters, Simon Burke, Rachael Blake, Rhys Muldoon, Louise Siversen and Sonia Todd.