THE students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are currently performing a musical version of The Addams Family on the Edinburgh Fringe.

It's had good reviews, but it was nothing compared to the drama back home in Glasgow last night as Alex Salmond gave a definitive Death of a Salesman.

In advance of the STV referendum debate, commentators advised him to play against type by dropping the aggression and turning on the schmooze.

He played against type all right - he was woeful.

Alistair Darling, chairman of the Better Together campaign, had his ropey moments too, but it was the First Minister who really stank up the stage.

After a decent opening statement on the evils of Westminster, delivered in a high, voice-coached flutter that sounded as if it cost him a testicle, Mr Salmond dawdled downhill.

It was obvious Mr Darling had been on the monkey glands and was up for a scrap, but the FM was too laid-back for too long.

As the two men cross-examined one another, the former Chancellor peppered him with questions about a Plan B on the currency.

Mr Salmond fell back on tired debating gimmicks, such as reading out his opponent's old quotes.

It was meant to look unruffled, but drew boos from the audience for prevarication.

"Everyone is wrong except you," deadpanned Mr Darling.

Mr Salmond then squandered most of his cross-examination on trivial No camp scare stories about driving on the wrong side of the road and alien attacks.

It was bizarre, niggly stuff that seemed to baffle Mr Darling and irritate the audience in equal measure.

"You're really scrabbling around. Let's have a grown up conversation," said Union Al.

The FM belatedly got back on track when he asked Darling repeatedly whether he agreed with David Cameron that an independent Scotland could be a successful small country.

The audience groaned as Mr Darling ducked and dodged.

But when the audience had its turn, the FM was again accused of failing to answer questions.

One punter reprovingly said he was "disappointed" by the FM's "snide" comments.

An ICM poll called it for Darling by 56 per cent to 44 per cent.

That was being kind to Mr Salmond.