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Reviewed by Judene Edgar

In a space of just four years, Ben ‘Tito’ Caldwell ‘stepped up’ from a late-twenties slacker to a father of five.

Stepping Up provides a brutally honest retelling of Tito’s journey from single jack-the-lad to depressed husband, father, and step-father to three children with high-level special needs.

It was nearly uncomfortably honest at times.  I possibly know more about his sex life and mental health than I know about most of my friends, but he always managed to inject some much-needed humour and lightness in just before it went too far or too deep.

Equally, there were highly relatable times when I was close to tears, but again, he managed to throw out a comedic lifeline just before it got too dark.

Tito admits that in telling his sometimes painful, but always humorous journey to where he is today, both in terms of his circumstances and his mental well-being, was a form of therapy.  While there were some downs, there were equal doses of ups. The emotional rollercoaster included such gems as the joy of teaching his eldest to pee standing up, his views on religion, his wife’s vacuuming obsession and his version of ‘dirty talk’.

There is an incredible balancing act required to expose yourself that much to the audience without over-stepping.  There may have been times when some of the honesty could perhaps be regarded as ‘TMI’, however he never rested for too long on any one point so as to disengage the audience or make them feel uncomfortable.

While we learned his deepest, darkest secrets, we also learned that humour can indeed be the best medicine, and that in all things, we’re generally never going through it alone.

Despite the brutal honesty, he was funny, warm and engaging throughout.

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