This is a response to your card about the play but I can't find your card. Anyway, my parents saw it in NY and loved it. Dad had read the abridged version (yes, I see your eyes rolling). BUT my friends in LA saw it and were disappointed.
I think the problem is just the difference between the two mediums, an incredibly long book and a 2 1/2 hour (or whatever) stage play. Their comment was the characterizations are a lot shallower than the book (they read the unabridged version), this is certainly understandable.