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The death of Martin 'Musa' Lev on March 12, a victim of ME, means Questors audiences have lost a true entertainer of great intelligence and Puckish originality.

The news of his death is distressing and bewildering. But our incomprehension is a measure of how hard it is to understand ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and what it puts its victims through day after day, year after year.
Musa had suffered the debilitating effects of ME for seven years, symptoms which can best be described as having daily influenza coupled with a constant hangover, muscle pain and exhaustion.

There is no definitive treatment for ME. In fact because it eludes simple explanation and neat text book definitions, it is barely recognised by conventional medicine. This is small comfort for the estimated 150,000 who suffer from the disease in the UK, most of whom rely on alternative therapies and pioneering voluntary groups.

The leading group is the ME Action Campaign, which Musa himself founded in the teeth of immense difficulties, not least his own struggle with ME. His singleminded search for a way of handling his condition was deeply admirable and an indictment of the way GP's, specialists and the rest of the 'experts' had let him down.

Musa probably never saw himself as a hero — he certainly never got cast as one! — but his rise to the challenge of ME was truly heroic. He even bounced back at The Questors in a number of brilliantly mischievous portrayals. After The Questors Revue and the fiendish Blifil in Tom Jones (1985) in
1985, there were various comic characters in Can't Pay Won't Pay (1986), Melchior in On the Razzle (1989) and Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew (1990).

He was a joy to act with and would surely have enjoyed a distinguished acting career had he persisted following his success as a child actor, playing the mobster Dandy Dan in the film Bugsy Malone.

But perhaps, ultimately, he was too serious about real life to take that path. The friends he left behind at The Questors can remember him with love and admiration for his wit, warmth and fine, questioning mind.


1985 Questickles
1985 Tom Jones
1986 Can't Pay, Won't Pay
1989 The Busy Body (rehearsed reading)
1989 On The Razzle
1990 However Do You Remember All those Lines? (Gala evening)
1990 Once More with Feeling (revue)
1990 The Taming of the Shrew