James McNicholas: The Boxer

Comedy (stand-up, storytelling)

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  • Pleasance Courtyard - Bunker Two
  • 16:15
  • Aug 25
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Restriction)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Katie Storey Productions
  • Warnings and additional info: This show contains strong language.
  • Accessibility:
    Audio enhancement system
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


James' grandad, Terry Downes, became world middleweight champion in 1961. By contrast, James' school PE teacher once told him he was so unfit he'd be dead by the time he was 23. This is a story about boxing told by someone who's never boxed. His glasses would come off, for a start. Solo debut from one third of critically-acclaimed sketch act BEASTS (**** (Times), **** (Telegraph), **** (Metro)). James is also one of the stars and writers of the BBC's Horrible Histories. Directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Tom Parry.

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General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
  • Accessible entry: Access via driveway off main road.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

James McGouldrick 23 days ago

I’ve not been to many shows at the Fringe that receive such a well deserved and extended standing ovation. It’s simply clever, very funny and the connection between James and his Grandmother is special.

Michael Doyle 30 days ago

Normally successful people have feckless kids but Terry Downes has a grandson! @gunnerblog aka ‪@jamesmcnicholas‬ was brilliant in his writing and story telling. You leave the show punch drunk or actual drunk depending on what you drank.

Michael Cant 30 days ago

Go and see this show! I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of media used and the presentation of both public and private information. The writing in particular was very strong and very funny.

Daniel Taylor 32 days ago

This is a great show that's fun and hilarious throughout. It's also very smart and incredibly heartfelt from a wonderful performer who unashamedly bares more than just his chest at times. We really enjoyed it, a big congratulations to James for putting together such a meaningful and laugh out loud show.

Thomas Finlay 34 days ago

Excellent show in a nice venue.
Energetic, emotional, funny and well paced.

Peter Studd 34 days ago

We picked this show before we saw any reviews and we are so glad we did! James McNicholas was excellent in his brilliantly written, funny and - surprisingly - very moving and life affirming show. Highly recommended!

George Kirke 39 days ago

This show is fantastic. James moves seamlessly between characters and the laughs are enhanced by poignant moments that bring a real atmosphere to the room. See this show.

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

The Guardian (4/5 stars) 24 days ago

Terry Downes was world middleweight boxing champion in the early 1960s. His grandson James McNicholas is a writer, actor and comedian whose biggest success was an advert for TUC biscuits. “He left big shoes to fill,” McNicholas tells us – “even for a clown.” But McNicholas, one third of the...

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The Skinny (3/5 stars) 26 days ago

James McNicholas, of sketch comedy group BEASTS, has already proven himself to be a skilled actor. This translates well to The Boxer in the characterisation of his grandfather Terry Downes, who just so happened to be world middleweight champion in 1961. The Boxer takes us on a journey of Terry’s...

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Voice Magazine (4/5 stars) 26 days ago

An amusing and at times surprisingly emotive solo debut

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Chortle (3.5/5 stars) 27 days ago

Have you no interest in boxing? Well, not to worry, nor does James McNicholas, not really. He did most of his research for this show by watching the scores of movies Hollywood has made about pugilism and realising they all have the same scriptwriting-by-numbers format. Now that might come in useful...

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One4Review (4/5 stars) 29 days ago

James McNicholas’ debut solo hour is a loving tribute to his Grandfather,1961 Middleweight champion of the world Terry Downes, known as ‘The Paddington Express’. He weaves deftly in between playing the character of his grandfather on the rise to the … Read More...

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The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 30 days ago

Like many cinemagoers, I'm a sucker for the sort of brutishly rudimentary, Hollywood-boxing-movie cliches that James McNicholas embraces in his richly entertaining stand-up debut. ...

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The List (3/5 stars) 31 days ago

Touching personal story isn't a total knockout...

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The Telegraph (3/5 stars) 32 days ago

This charming and idiosyncratic Fringe solo debut (from a former member of the excellent sketch trio Beasts) tells two tales: that of James McNicholas himself, a mild-mannered fellow from the "mean streets" of rural Hertfordshire; and of his rather punchier grandfather Terry Downes, who from 1961 to 1962 was the world middleweight boxing champion of the world.

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Fest (3/5 stars) 39 days ago

It seems obvious when someone points it out, but there's more boxing films than any other sporting film genre. And they've extraordinary structural similaries, too, which James McNicholas does a fantastic job of both dissecting, and adhering to in The Boxer. Why? Because his granddad, Terry "The Paddington Express" Downes, was...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.