Nonetheless, the sheer philosophical scope of King's drama is breathtaking, and director David Fofi, who helmed last season's wonderful "Anything," works wonders despite a few weak links in his cast. Foster is an adequate Everyman but lacks an edge of passion that would make his dilemma more poignant, and Franco, while effectively rapacious, doesn't quite convince as a top-level corporate smoothie.
But the supporting cast is marvelous, particularly Kerry Carney as Al's blowsy wife, Francine, who keeps her straying husband in line at the point of a loaded gun.
F. Kathleen Foley --
"The Idea Man," Elephant Theater, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. 8 p.m. Thursdays- through Saturdays. Ends June 6. $20. (323) 960-4410 or www.plays411.com/ideaman. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Stress unsettles American dream
Anxiety, not the subprime lending crisis, implodes a household in "Half of Plenty," Lisa Dillman's darkly comic look at recession psychology now at Theatre Theater. New homeowners Marty (John Pollono) and Holly (Carolyn Palmer) find the American dream comes with unexpected asterisks -- namely, Marty's live-in father (Robert Mandan), suffering from dementia, and proto-fascist members of the local neighborhood watch, known as APNEA (Ron Bottitta and Betsy Zajko).