BY the time he reached last night's finale of the Alhambra pantomime, Billy had his audience in fits of laughter and gasping in awe at a series of dazzling stunts.

But it was a poignant scene of unrequited love that really shone the spotlight on Bradford's panto king. When Snow White spurns Muddles ("My name is Muddles - this year," Billy told us, with a wink and a nod to his 16th stint in the Alhambra panto), it's a heartbreaking moment, highlighting his ability to make us laugh and cry. This is a cracking show, serving up spectacular visual effects alongside traditional panto slapstick and good old-fashioned family fun.

Highlights included a terrific tap dancing number, sending Billy literally up the wall, and a giant, flapping Pterodactyl carrying evil Queen Sadista. Jenny Gayner had younger audience members in tears as a superb panto baddie, and quite right too.

Joe McElderry lit up the stage as the Spirit of the Mirror, with a voice like velvet, and Adam Stafford tickled ribs as Dame Betty Blumenthal. I loved the clever comic routine involving the Dame, Muddles and trolley full of confectionery. Great performances too from Charlotte Haines as Snow White, David O'Mahony as strapping Prince Benedict of Bradford, and of course the cute Sunbeams from the Sara Packham School of Dance.

A thrilling roller coaster ride of a panto, and a fabulous way to end the Alhambra's centenary year.

Runs until January 25, 2014.