Frankenstein; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; $20. Wilkerson Theatre at California Stage, 1725 25th Street; (916) 223-9568, Through October 31.
Rated 4.0

God, it is said, created man in his own image. But what if man—out of arrogance or envy—attempted creation? Would that creature be in his image? And what if it were?

Local actor and playwright Jes Gonzales has taken on a monster of a project in adapting Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein into a play. And, for the most part, he succeeds very well. Gonzales posits that Victor Frankenstein (a super-assured Nicholas Gailbreath) grew his own Creature (the striking Drew Struck) rather than stitching one together from parts of the deceased.

Otherwise, Gonzales mostly follows Shelley’s plot—the story opens with mariner Captain Walton (the dependable Don Hayden) and his crew rescuing a nearly frozen Victor from the near-Arctic ice. Walton provides narration, as does Victor, whose story is acted out on a separate section of stage (very ingenious, and very effective, thanks to set designers Margaret Morneau, Laura Gonzales and Adrienne Sher, who also directs).

We learn of Victor’s fiancée Elizabeth (Elizabeth Holzman), his father Alphonse (the remarkable Marcus Daniel), and his young brother William (Dawson Brody), whose death raises many questions.

This Frankenstein is a bit too long. It’s wordy and overly melodramatic in parts (a trial scene is particularly so), but it surely entertains. And it raises thought-provoking questions: Is science the key to creation, and between scientist and his creation, which is the real monster?